Indonesian Muslims wait for their flight for umrah or the minor pilgrimage to the holy city Mecca at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Tangerang, Banten, on Nov. 1, 2020. (Beritasatu Photo/Chairul Fikri)

Covid Task Force Cautions against “Imported Cases” by Umrah Pilgrims


NOVEMBER 09, 2020

Jakarta. The National Covid-19 Task Force warned on Monday about possible increase in imported coronavirus cases carried by umrah pilgrims and returning migrant workers.

“Indonesia must intensify screening at borders and international gates because of resurgence in coronavirus cases in the northern part of Europe. We are anticipating a big number of returning migrant workers and umrah prilgrims,” task force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito said in a video conference in Jakarta.

Health officials should intensify testing and, when necessary, quarantine of returnees suspected of having the virus at the borders, he said.

His remarks came after reports that three Indonesian Muslims performing the minor hajj pilgrimage in Mecca have tested positive for coronavirus.

At least 250 Indonesian pilgrims have departed to Mecca since Saudi Arabia reopened the pilgrimage on Nov. 1.

"We have the experience in handling this disease for around eight months now, so we must be able to contain imported cases," Wiku said.

He claimed that newly cases of the virus have been trending down and the proportion of active cases to the overall cases also declined to 12.52 percent, well below the global average of 26.79 percent.

However, Indonesia the fatality rate of the epidemic remains above the global average, 3.34 percent against 2.5 percent, he said.

Indonesia has recorded 2,853 new cases in the last 24 hours to take the country’s total to 440,569, including 14,689 deaths.

The total number of active cases stands at 53,614, while 372,266 Covid-19 patients have been cured or discharge from hospitals.

The country has added 30,000 cases of the virus since Nov. 1.

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Four key provinces in the Indonesian battle against coronavirus remain the major contributors to the national tally.

Jakarta, home to 25 percent of confirmed coronavirus countrywide, recorded 716 cases for a total of 112,743 cases, including 2,377 deaths. In general, the capital city has been seeing a slower growth in newly cases in the last two weeks.

East Java has a total of 52,465 cases and leads the national death toll with 3,913 coronavirus-related deaths. Daily numbers in the province has been ranging between 200 and 300 over the last few weeks.

West Java added 330 more cases for a total of 40,423, also in a downward trend in the past week.

It’s Central Java that reported the second-highest daily average since the beginning of the month, with 492 cases per day in the highly fluctuating week to take its total to 38,339.

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Only three other provinces have been averaging more than 100, including West Sumatra, East Kalimantan and Riau. 

West Sumatra is ranked sixth among worst affected provinces with a total of 16,145 cases, followed by Riau (15,757) and East Kalimantan (15,681).

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South Sulawesi, which was hit badly by the virus early on, separated the three from the top four provinces in Java with a total of 18,818 cases. The surge has been slowing in South Sulawesi since last month and now averages just 53 cases per day.

North Sumatra (13,818) and Bali (12,293) complete the top ten of provinces with the most cases.

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