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Covid-19 Positive Student Allowed to Board Flight GA 682 to Sorong, Papua

June 28, 2020, 06.26 PM – Travelers on a Garuda Indonesia Airlines flight to Sorong, Papua did not receive the warm welcome they expected, as they disembarked in the city’s Domine Edward Osok Airport on Saturday, June 27.

Authorities urged passengers of Garuda’s Flight 682 to go into self-quarantine, after a traveler on the flight tested positive for the coronavirus.

Sorong Airport Health Office Coordinator Dr. Farida Tariq said officials found the Covid-19 case from a routine check of the passengers’ health documents.

Also read: Indonesia' Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Provides Covid-19 Rapid Test Services

“The coronavirus positive passenger has been identified as WH from South Sorong Regency. He is one of 43 students [from Papua] sent to study in Java,” Farida said. “The health document was issued by the West Java Province Health Service.”

"[WH’s sample] tested positive for Covid-19 following a polymerase chain reaction [PCR] test. I notified the Covid-19 Task Force in Sorong about the result and had the other students undergo swab tests at Pertamina Hospital here.”

Human error

Farida suspected human error to be the main reason WH was allowed to board Flight GA 682.

“It seemed that health authorities in Soeharto Hatta International Airport in Jakarta overlooked [WH’s] positive result because they were overwhelmed by the sheer number of passengers,” she noted.

“I immediately notified the other passengers [of Flight GA 682] to go into self-quarantine. The plane has also been disinfected before it is used again.” Farida added that she has been consulting with officials in Soekarno-Hatta Airport about the case.

Also read: Indonesians Ready to Travel During New Normal

Under the government’s latest air travel regulations, all prospective passengers must provide documents showing a negative Covid-19 PCR or rapid test result before they are allowed to board the plane.

Papua is one of the provinces that are most affected by Covid-19 outside Java. Officials noted that it has 1,670 confirmed cases and seven deaths as of this Saturday. 

(Writer: Maichel | Editor : Dheri Agriesta)


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