TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto visited Natuna, Riau Islands, on Wednesday, Feb. 5, to check the handling of the observation period of 238 Indonesians evacuated from Wuhan, China, following coronavirus outbreak. In the visit, he was accompanied by Minister of Health Terawan Agus Putranto.
The defense ministry's spokesperson, Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, said that Prabowo had wanted to meet the repatriates being quarantined in person. However, the minister has been denied an audience with them.
“He regretted and apologized to the 238 Indonesians there. Due to the strict rules during the observation period that did not permit direct contact, he could only say hello from the bus," Dahnil said in a written statement.
However, Dahnil claimed that Prabowo understood that the ban was part of the security and preventive procedures that had to be carried out. "This shows that the country is ready to make efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus," he said.
In addition, Prabowo’s agenda in Natuna was to check the feasibility of a military base that has been used for the observation location of the 238 Indonesian citizens repatriated from Wuhan.
Besides Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto, who has already been ordered by President Joko Widodo to be based there, the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD has been planned to come to Natuna to attend to the affairs there.
EGI ADYATAMA | DIO SUHENDA (Intern Translator)