Bali gov’t rejects Timor Leste’s request to quarantine citizens repatriated from China

File photo of the airport in Bali. Photo: Ngurah Rai International Airport
File photo of the airport in Bali. Photo: Ngurah Rai International Airport

The Bali provincial government has rejected Timor Leste’s request to help quarantine 17 of its citizens who have yet to be repatriated from China amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

According to I Ketut Suarjaya, who heads the Health Agency in Bali, the province is unable to accept the request following President Joko Widodo’s instruction to restrict travelers coming from and going to China, which is currently enforced. 

Read — Indonesia bans flights from China, pulls visa waivers for Chinese nationals amid growing coronavirus fears

“The flights have also been stopped. The main point is that we don’t accept any travelers from China for the time being,” Suarjaya told Kompas yesterday

Vice Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, or Cok Ace, previously said that an official meeting in the province on Monday also concluded that the island is unable to accept Timor Leste’s request. 

“Based on suggestions from relevant authorities, it seems that we are unable to grant the request,” Cok Ace said, as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

Timor Leste’s Planning and Strategic Investment Minister, Xanana Gusmao, told reporters in Jakarta after meeting with Indonesia’s Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD yesterday that his country lacked adequate infrastructure to handle possible cases of the novel coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV. 

“It needs to be understood that we don’t have any facilities, we don’t have anything. This is why we are asking for help [to quarantine] like other countries,” Gusmao said, as quoted by CNN Indonesia

The 2019-nCoV has so far infected more than 24,000 people and killed nearly 500 people, according to the latest data from China’s health committees. Cases of the coronavirus have been detected in at least 25 countries outside of China, though there are currently no known infections in Indonesia. 

Indonesian nationals were evacuated from the center of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China on Sunday and are themselves quarantined on the northern Natuna Besar Island. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi previously said that they will be kept away for at least 14 days to avoid contagion.

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