Indonesia bans Chinese Travellers for Entering the Country

Indonesia, China, Coronavirus, epidemics

Natuna residents protest in front of Raden Sadjad Air Force Base in Ranai, Natuna, Riau Islands, on Saturday. They opposed the arrival of Indonesian citizens repatriated from Wuhan, China, in the regency, where the evacuees will be observed to ensure they are free from the new coronavirus. (Antara/Cherman)

Indonesia on Sunday 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.

The measure was further strengthened on Monday at midnight with a complete ban on travel to Mainland China and the suspension of all visa-free and visa on arrival provisions for Chinese citizens.

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.

There have not been any confirmed cases of coronavirus in Indonesia.

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

In China, the virus has killed over 360 people and infected more than 17,000 on Monday. 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.

Around 200 people set tires 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 away,” he said.

“The virus won’t spread,” Goldenhard said.

(Source: Reuters)