Return of Migrant Workers Blamed for COVID-19 Surge in Bangkalan

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin gives a press statement regarding the arrival of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine upon arrival from Beijing at the Cargo Terminal at Soekarno Hatta Airport, Tangerang, Banten, Sunday, April 18, 2021. Millions of vaccines were then brought to Bio Farma Bandung before being distributed to cities and districts in Indonesia. ANTARA/Muhammad Iqbal

    Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin gives a press statement regarding the arrival of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine upon arrival from Beijing at the Cargo Terminal at Soekarno Hatta Airport, Tangerang, Banten, Sunday, April 18, 2021. Millions of vaccines were then brought to Bio Farma Bandung before being distributed to cities and districts in Indonesia. ANTARA/Muhammad Iqbal

    TEMPO.CO, JakartaHealth Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said the spike in COVID-19 cases in Bangkalan regency, East Java, was attributable to the return of Indonesian migrant workers (PMI). 

    “Many Indonesian migrant workers return to Bangkalan, Madura, from neighboring countries,” said Budi at an online press conference on Monday, June 7.

    He added that the occupancy rate of hospitals in the regency saw a significant increase in the past 1.5 weeks. “Previously, there were only 10 patients occupying the hospital isolation beds in Bangkalan. Now within the past 1.5 weeks, the figure rises to 70-80,” Budi explained. 

    The Bangkalan Health Agency recorded the number of positive cases in the region after the Eid holidays was alarming as there were 34 death cases within 14 days and 169 active cases within one week.

    Budi said the government had lightened the hospitals’ burden by referring patients who developed severe and moderate symptoms of the disease to nearby cities.

    To solve problems in the upstream, the regional heads are asked to boost public compliance with the health protocols of wearing face masks, washing hands, and physical distancing. “Testing, tracing, and treatment must also be strengthened.”

    The central government will also deliver COVID-19 vaccines to curb the transmission rate. “We will immediately drop 50,000 doses of vaccine in Bangkalan,” said the Health Minister.

    Read: First COVID-19 Wave in Indonesia May Peak at End of June: Epidemiologist

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