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Third Indonesian minister tests positive for COVID-19

Third Indonesian minister tests positive for COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask passes a mural promoting awareness of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Jakarta, Indonesia, Aug 31, 2020. (REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

JAKARTA: Indonesia's Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi has become the third Cabinet minister to test positive for COVID-19 in the country. 

The ministry confirmed on Monday (Sep 21) that the minister tested positive last Thursday. “Thankfully (his) condition has been well with no worrying signs,” it said in a statement.

Mr Razi is currently treated at an undisclosed hospital in the nation's capital and his day-to-day duties will now be performed by vice minister Zainut Tauhid Sa'adi.

“The minister has instructed (his staff) to continue (the ministry’s) programme and services … particularly in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in religious schools and institutions,” the statement said.

The statement did not give further details on how Mr Razi might have contracted the virus. 

Throughout the pandemic, Mr Razi has defended the government’s decision to close houses of worship during the “large-scale social restrictions” and encouraged people to pray at home, including during the major Muslim holiday Idul Fitri.

READ: Return to Jakarta lockdown will hit economy this quarter, but bitter pill needs to be swallowed, say economists

Prior to Mr Razi, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo had tested positive for COVID-19. Both have since recovered. 

The disease has also infected chief of the National Elections Commission Arief Budiman and claimed the life of Jakarta provincial secretary Saefullah on Sep 16.

There have been more than 240,000 infections in Indonesia, with about 9,500 deaths. 

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Source: CNA/ni

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