TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Consulate General in Mumbai, India, facilitated a self-initiated repatriation of 64 Indonesians stranded in the country after the Indian government enforced a lockdown policy to stem transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The returnees boarded Garuda Indonesia's GA 8150 flight from Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport to the Soekarno Hatta International Airport on Friday, the Indonesian authority noted in a statement that ANTARA received here on Saturday.
The Garuda aircraft departed from the Mumbai-based airport at 6:55 a.m. local time and arrived at the Soekarno Hatta International Airport in Cengkareng, Banten Province, on Friday at 4:45 p.m. Western Indonesia Time (WIB).
Indonesians aboard the Garuda flight constituted university students, workers, regular travelers, and visiting officials. The Indonesian consulate general confirmed that several Indian nationals holding temporary stay permits (KITAS) had also boarded the flight.
On May 22, a total of 117 Indonesian citizens, who got stranded in Mumbai, India, amid the COVID-19 pandemic situation, were also repatriated to Indonesia, Indonesian Consul General in Mumbai Agus P. Saptono stated.
Before being permitted to board the aircraft, all passengers of the Mumbai-Jakarta flight had received negative results for the swab tests they had undergone, he noted.
COVID-19 initially struck the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019 and thereafter spread to various parts of the world, including countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Indonesian government made an official announcement of the country's first confirmed cases on March 2 this year.
As of July 17, 2020, Indonesia had recorded 83,130 COVID-19 cases, with 41,834 recoveries and 3,957 deaths.
The virus spread across the country's provinces, with the highest number of cases reported from East Java, reaching 17,829; followed by 15,889 cases in Jakarta, 7,713 cases in South Sulawesi, 6,366 cases in Central Java, and 5,402 cases in West Java.
To tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, Indonesia is making all-out efforts to develop a vaccine to fight the virus.
To this end, spokesperson for the COVID-19 Handling Task Force Wiku Adisasmito echoed the government's aspirations to prioritize the triad of safety, precision, and speed in the domestic production of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"We must say that in the development of this vaccine, the Indonesian government prioritizes three important aspects, with the first is about it being safe; second, being precise; and third, being fast," Adisasmito remarked on Friday.
State-owned pharmaceutical holding company Bio Farma has recently collaborated with Chinese company Sinovac to produce the COVID-19 vaccine for Indonesia. The Sinovac-made COVID-19 vaccine material arrived in Indonesia on July 19.