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Indonesia Quarantines Foreign Sailors Suspected of Carrying Covid-19 Variant From India

May 8, 2021, 07.18 AM

CILACAP, – Concerns over the transmission of the B. Covid-19 variant from India continues to spread throughout Indonesia, after authorities in the port of Cilacap, Central Java province quarantined 13 foreign sailors who tested positive for Covid-19.

The 13 sailors are among the 20 crewmen of a ship which sailed to Cilacap from India last April.

“Boarding officers from Cilacap’s Health Services took genome samples from three of the sailors at Cilacap Regional Hospital on April 28, where they have been self-isolating in rooms separate from the other patients,” said Cilacap Health Service chief Dr. Pramesti Griana Dewi.

Also read: Seafarers from Indian Ship Docked in Indonesia's Port of Dumai Test Positive for Covid-19

Pramesti declined to confirm if the patients, who hailed from the Philippines, tested positive for the B. strain. But she confirmed that some contact with workers at Cilacap’s Tanjung Intan port did occur, as shipping agents helped the boat’s captain with offload a few items from the ship.

“The procedure to determine if [the sailors] contracted the B. strain was carried out three days after the vessel arrived at Cilacap’s [Tanjung Intan] port. It will then be sent to the offices of the Ministry of Health in Jakarta.”

The Regional Secretary for the Cilacap area, Farid Maruf, reiterated Pramesti. “We have yet to determine if the [sailors] contracted B.1.6.17, as their test results have not been in. But we urge the public to remain calm and maintain health protocols.”

Also read: South African Covid-19 Strain Found in Bali, Indonesia

Prior to its arrival at Cilacap’s Tanjung Intan harbor on April 25, the cargo ship was known to leave Indian waters on April 14.

Central Java’s governor, Ganjar Pranowo, also weighed in on the ship’s presence in Cilacap. “I urge port authorities [in Cilacap and elsewhere in Indonesia]] to know the origins of the ships that dock and use their ports,” he said during a visit to the city of Purwokerto on Friday, May 7.

“If they came from countries that have dangerous [Covid-19] outbreaks, do not let them dock and use the port facilities of cities in Central Java.”

He also called for calm from the public. Indonesian medical authorities have detected Covid-19 variants from Great Britain, India and South Africa in parts of the country.

(Writer: Fadlan Mukhtar Zain, Banyumas Contributor | Editor : Teuku Muhammad Valdy Arief)


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