Indonesia bars entry to visitors from China amid evacuation protest

Indonesia bars entry to visitors from China amid evacuation protest

Medical officers prepare evacuated Indonesian nationals from Wuhan, China's center of the coro
Medical officers prepare evacuated Indonesian nationals from Wuhan, China's center of the coronavirus epidemic, before transferring them to the Natuna Islands military base to be quarantined, at Hang Nadim Airport in Batam, Riau Islands. (Photo: Reuters)

JAKARTA: Indonesia on Sunday (Feb 2) barred entry to visitors who have been in China for 14 days over concern about coronavirus, as citizens evacuated from Hubei province faced protests by some residents on their return home.

There have not been any confirmed cases of coronavirus in Indonesia, but neighbouring Philippines on Sunday reported the first death from the virus outside China.

Indonesia will also temporarily stop flights to and from mainland China starting Wednesday. It will immediately bar visitors who have been in China for 14 days from entering or transiting, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told a televised news conference.

Passengers disembark from a plane, which evacuated Indonesian nationals from China's Hubei pro
Passengers disembark from a plane, which evacuated Indonesian nationals from China's Hubei province, the centre of the coronavirus epidemic, at the Hang Nadim Airport, Batam. (Photo: Reuters)
Medical officers prepare evacuated Indonesian nationals from Wuhan, China's center of the coro
Medical officers prepare evacuated Indonesian nationals from Wuhan, China's center of the coronavirus epidemic, before transferring them to the Natuna Islands military base to be quarantined, at Hang Nadim Airport in Batam, Riau Islands. (Photo: Reuters)

Indonesia's Lion Air Group has already stopped its flights to China.

Marsudi also asked Indonesians not to travel to China during the coronavirus epidemic.

In China, the virus has killed 304 people and infected more than 14,000. More than 20 other countries and regions outside mainland China have also reported cases.

Earlier on Sunday, the government flew 243 Indonesians from China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the virus, and placed them under quarantine at a military base on the sparsely populated Natuna Besar island northwest of Borneo.

Marsudi said a total of 285 people, including flight crew and the team involved in the evacuation, will have to stay there for 14 days under observation.

Although she said all were reportedly healthy, their presence on the island alarmed some residents.

READ: Escaping the virus lockdown in Wuhan would have torn his family, so he stayed

READ: 'Please take my daughter': Mother of woman with cancer pleads at Hubei blockade

Medical officers prepare evacuated Indonesian nationals from Wuhan, China's center of the coro
Medical officers prepare evacuated Indonesian nationals from Wuhan, China's center of the coronavirus epidemic, before transferring them to the Natuna Islands military base to be quarantined, at Hang Nadim Airport in Batam, Riau Islands. (Photo: Reuters)
Medical officers prepare evacuated Indonesian nationals from Wuhan, China's center of the coro
Medical officers prepare evacuated Indonesian nationals from Wuhan, China's center of the coronavirus epidemic, before transferring them to the Natuna Islands military base to be quarantined, at Hang Nadim Airport in Batam, Riau Islands. (Photo: Reuters) 

Around 200 people set tyres ablaze during a protest rally on Sunday, regional police spokesman Harry Goldenhard said by telephone.

"What the government is doing has been weighed and planned carefully. The location of the observatory is far from their homes, some 6 km (3.7 miles) away," he said.

"The virus won't spread," Goldenhard said.

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Source: Reuters/nr

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