Indonesia to stop flights to and from China amid Wuhan virus concerns

An official sits alone inside an aircraft, which will carry Indonesians from Wuhan back, in the Jakarta Airport on Feb 1, 2020.
An official sits alone inside an aircraft, which will carry Indonesians from Wuhan back, in the Jakarta Airport on Feb 1, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia will temporarily stop flights to and from mainland China starting Wednesday (Feb 5) and bar visitors who have been in China for 14 days from entering or transiting in the South-east Asian country, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said on Sunday.

The government will stop a policy to give free visas to Chinese nationals and also stop issuing visas on arrival for those who live in mainland China, she said, asking Indonesians not to travel to China amid the coronavirus epidemic.

More than 40,000 workers at a vast Chinese-controlled industrial complex in Indonesia’s Sulawesi island have been quarantined, although Indonesia has not reported any cases.

In China, the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak had reached 304 as of the end of Saturday, state broadcaster CCTV said on Sunday, citing the country’s National Health Commission, with recorded cases of infections of more than 14,000.

The Philippines said on Sunday that a 44-year-old Chinese man had died of the new coronavirus, the first fatality from the growing outbreak outside of China, where the epidemic started, prompting tighter travel restrictions for both Filipinos and foreigners.