Jakarta. Budi Karya Sumadi, Indonesia's transportation minister, has tested positive for the Covid-19, Minister of State Secretary Pratikno said on Saturday.
Budi Karya, who oversees many of the government's efforts to contain the pandemic at the country's ports and borders, became the highest-ranking official who became infected by the novel coronavirus.
"With the family's permission delivered by the head of the Gatot Subroto Army Hospital, I can confirm that [the patient] is Budi Karya Sumadi," Pratikno told reporters in a press conference late on Saturday.
"It was his duty to be at the forefront of dealing with the impact of Covid-19," Pratikno said.
Minister Budi Karya was identified as positive patient number 76 and is now under intensive care at the Army hospital.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has appointed Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan as interim transportation minister.
Budi Karya attended an event at Kertajati International Airport in West Java on March 2 to welcome 69 Indonesian crew members of Diamond Princess — the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship that was under lockdown in Japan. Two of the crew members later tested positive for the virus.
Also present at the event was Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy and Health Minister Agus Terawan Putranto.
After the event, Budi Karya has been out of the public eye for more than a week, with the ministry released a statement last Tuesday saying he was resting at home, having suffered from typhus symptoms.
The minister was later seen attending a cabinet meeting with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Wednesday. On the day, he also met a Dutch delegation led by Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Cornelia van Nieuwenhuizen-Wijbenga to discuss cooperation in transportation.
Indonesia has confirmed 96 Covid-19 cases on Saturday, up from 69 a day earlier as the disease spreading to eight cities, including Jakarta, Bandung in West Java, Tangerang in Banten, Solo in Central Java, Bali, Manado in North Sulawesi, Yogyakarta and Pontianak in West Kalimantan.
Five died, including a medical worker, who treated a Covid-19 patient, while eight others managed to recover.