In attempts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus from Wuhan, China, the commissioner of the Indonesian Ombudsman (Ombudsman RI), La Ode Ida, is seeking to issue a temporary travel ban for workers and tourists coming from China.
“The government should register the plethora of Chinese workers that have already arrived in Indonesia for further tests to determine whether they are infected by the deadly virus or not,” La Ode said.
He also revealed that Chinese workers arrive in Indonesia on a daily basis, especially in South East Sulawesi and Central Sulawesi, generally working for smelters established by Chinese investors.
The Indonesian Ombudsman commissioner said that protecting the lives of Indonesians should be prioritised above other interests, especially if other interests involve securing foreign investments.
International reports suggest that 56 people have died due to the coronavirus.
Minister of Transportation, Budi Karya Sumadi, announced he is to hold a meeting with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the development to determine the fate of commercial flights from Indonesia to cities in China.
“Lion Air briefly intended to return to Whuan but the city itself is closed so the flight back to Indonesia was empty. There are definitely no more flights from anywhere in Indonesia to Wuhan,” he said.
This corresponds to Beijing’s International Notam Office notice under NOTAM G0108/20 that made it temporarily off-limits for Indonesian airliners to fly to Wuhan.
Budi offered assurances that the Indonesian government will not put forth sectoral egos in preventing the Wuhan coronavirus from spreading in Indonesia, as the same preventive decisions are applied to international seaports.
But the Ministry of Health’s Head of communication bureau and public service, Widyawati, claimed that “we must be cautious in issuing a travel warning since it concerns other areas.”
Despite no travel warning being issued, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued travel advice for Indonesians, available on its website, advising to avoid physical contact with anyone showing symptoms and for those intending to travel to China.
Image: The Strait Times