TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Majority of Indonesians in mainland China had returned to Indonesia following the Indonesian Embassy's call for them to be in their hometowns while waiting for the return of normalcy as the number of people confirmed to have recovered from the new coronavirus infection has climbed to 2,651.
"Majority of our citizens have returned home. The Chinese authorities have also extended the school holiday," Indonesian Ambassador to China Djauhari Oratmangun told Antara who contacted him from Jakarta on Sunday.
The Indonesian Embassy in Beijing had issued an official statement letter containing a call for Indonesians across China to return home if they had no essential reasons to keep staying to help them get rid of the impacts of deadly novel coronavirus outbreak.
The official statement letter was dated on January 29, 2020, and signed by Coordinator of the Protocol and Consular Affairs at the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing Ichsan Firdaus.
Despite the fact that majority of Indonesians had left China, Ambassador Djauhari Oratmangun said seven Indonesians still stay in Hubei Province, the epicenter of China's novel coronavirus outbreak.
They are all in good health, he said, adding that he holds daily video calls with them to know about their health condition. "Alhamdulillah (Thank God), they are all well," he said.
The Indonesian Government had brought 238 Indonesians home. They were airlifted using a chartered aircraft and arrived in Batam city, Riau Islands Province, on Feb. 2. On the same day, they were all flown to Natuna and quarantined.
Before their departure, the health of these 238 Indonesian evacuees had been thoroughly examined by the Chinese authorities before being allowed to board the aircraft.
The Chinese health authorities confirmed that they were all in good health and could be airlifted, according to Indonesian Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto. There were seven other Indonesians who did not join the evacuation.
Four of the seven were offered the opportunity to join the emergency evacuation but refused because they felt more comfortable there, while three others failed the health examinations by Chinese authorities, Putranto said.
The novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan has seriously challenged mainland China as the death toll of this virus has risen to 813. Thus, the death toll of this 2019-nCoV has exceeded that of SAR epidemic.
Considering the rising mortality rate and the number of those infected inside and outside mainland China, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared this 2019-nCoV as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
According to WHO's official website, as of February 3, 2020 there had been 23 countries which have been reported with confirmed coronavirus cases. Among them are Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, Malaysia, USA, and the Philippines.
Indonesia and many other countries are working with the Chinese authorities to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan. The evacuation is part of the accountability of the governments of those countries to their respective citizens.