Indonesia on Sunday evacuated over 230 of its citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, and also announced a suspension of flights to and from China.
A chartered plane flew the 238 evacuees including a foreigner, who lived in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei Province, to Indonesia's Batam Island, from where they were airlifted by the military to the remote Natuna Islands.
They are to be quarantined there for two weeks, which is the incubation period of the newly identified virus.
(Indonesians board a specially-arranged flight of Batik Air carrier at the Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan on Feb. 2, 2020.)
[Photo courtesy of the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing]
The one foreigner among the evacuees is the husband of one of the Indonesians, according to a press statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which did not specify his nationality.
Officials of the foreign and health ministries and military officers who participated in the evacuation operation, as well as the crew of the charter, will also be under observation on Natuna for three days.
Four Indonesians declined to be evacuated, while three others did not pass health screening by the Chinese authorities and so were refused permission to leave the country, according to Indonesian officials.
Indonesian health officials said all the evacuees will be subjected to another health screening on Natuna following World Health Organization procedures.
(Health officials spray Indonesian citizens, who just arrived on Batam Island on Feb. 2, 2020.)
[Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs]
As of Sunday, according to the Ministry of Health, there were no confirmed cases of the new type of coronavirus in Indonesia.
Later in the day, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told a press conference that the government decided to suspend all flights to and from mainland China, effective from Wednesday.
The government will also not allow anyone who has been in China in the last 14 days to enter or transit in Indonesia, she said, adding that Indonesian citizens are requested not to travel to mainland China for the time being.
Chinese state media reported Sunday that the death toll from the outbreak has reached 304, with the number of infections up 2,590 from the previous day to 14,380.