Jakarta. The Indonesian government has sent a naval hospital ship to evacuate 188 Indonesian crew members of World Dream cruise ship to be sent to an uninhabited island near Jakarta for coronavirus observation, health officials said on Tuesday.
Achmad Yurianto, secretary-general of the Health Ministry’s disease control and environmental health directorate, said the crew members have passed medical checkups by Hong Kong authorities but the government requires them to join group observation for another 14 days to make sure they are free from the highly contagious virus.
“We also received information from the World Dream medical team that none of the Indonesians has symptoms typical of Covid-19,” Yurianto said in a video conference with journalists gathering at the Health Ministry compound in Jakarta.
The crew members have passed the 14 days of coronavirus incubation period since the medical checkups in Hong Kong was conducted on Feb. 5-9 and no one has shown signs of being infected, he said.
The Dr. Soeharso hospital ship has departed to Durian Strait off Riau province where World Dream dropped anchor. The estimated time of arrival is around 10.00 a.m. on Wednesday, he said.
After the transfer from the cruise ship, the 188 crew members will be transported to Sebaru Island in Jakarta’s Thousand Island district. They are expected to arrive at the island at around 03.00 a.m. on Friday, he said.
While on the hospital ship, all of them will undergo initial checkups and doctors will take specimens for laboratory tests.
Yurianto said there are around 270 Indonesian crew members in the cruise ship, but only 188 agreed to join the observation on the island. The rest have chosen to stay at the ship to continue the trip to Seattle, the United States, he said.
Sebaru Island used to be a rehabilitation facility for drug users. The facility has clinics, bedrooms, kitchens and air-conditioning machines.
Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto said the government plans to quarantine 74 Indonesian crew members of Diamond Princess cruise ship on the island too, but negotiations with Japanese authorities have not been concluded.
The evacuation of Diamond Princess crew members will be a riskier mission because many of its passengers and crew members have been infected with coronavirus, including four Indonesians now being treated at separate hospitals in Japan.
The government has initially planned to send the hospital ship to evacuate Diamond Princess crew members but the mission was delayed pending clearance from Japan.
Diamond Princess has been put under quarantine off the Japanese city of Yokohama following coronavirus outbreak inside the ship.
“We are still in negotiations with Japan over the best means to evacuate the crew members [from Diamond Princess],” Terawan said.
“But for now, we concentrate on the evacuation of World Dream crew members,” Terawan said.