Hundreds of Indonesian crew members flying in from Italy skip quarantine after testing negative for COVID-19

File photo of a screening at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport. Photo: I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport / Facebook
File photo of a screening at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport. Photo: I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport / Facebook

Over 300 Indonesian crew members from the MSC Splendida cruise ship reportedly did not undergo quarantine upon arrival at Ngurah Rai International Airport despite having flown in from Genoa, Italy on Monday night. 

Officials said all of them tested negative for the novel coronavirus, after rapid tests that were conducted at the airport. 

“As soon as they arrived they were checked by officers from the Port Health Authority and followed with rapid tests. The results were negative and [they] didn’t have to be quarantined,” Ida Bagus Ngurah Arda, who heads Bali province’s Manpower Agency, told Kompas yesterday.

There were 316 Indonesian crew members in total who boarded a flight with Qatar Airlines from Genoa to Denpasar, via Doha. 

As reported by Kompas, the crew members had also undergone a health examination while in Genoa, after which they were declared healthy and permitted to return to Indonesia. 

Italy is one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with over 105,000 confirmed cases and more than 12,000 deaths. 

Indonesians coming from COVID-19 hot zones, which includes Italy, are subject to health screening by the Port Health Authority upon arrival. Should authorities find that they are exhibiting early symptoms of COVID-19, they will be observed at a government facility for two weeks. On the other hand, those who do not exhibit early symptoms are advised to self-quarantine for the same period. 

Yesterday, Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy urged Indonesians overseas to stay in the countries in which they are living. The government said there are no plans to arrange their repatriation, but that they will be provided with supplies. 

Indonesia is currently anticipating mass arrivals of Indonesians abroad, particularly those seeking to leave Malaysia as it enforces its movement control order (MCO), as well as crew members of international cruise ships looking to return home as some cruise lines halt their operations. For the latter, their return will likely be through Ngurah Rai, Muhadjir said, adding that there are about 11,000 Indonesian crew members abroad. 

As of yesterday afternoon, Bali has recorded 19 positive COVID-19 cases. This includes two deaths of foreign nationals and four recoveries.

Read more news and updates from Bali here.

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