A deserted Batu Belig Beach in Bali last month. (Antara Photo/Fikri Yusuf)

Thousands of Foreign Tourists Repatriated From Bali as More Indonesian Ship Crew Arrive Home

BY :LONA OLAVIA, IWAN MARTINUS PUTUHENA

MAY 06, 2020

Jakarta. Bali's I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport has been used by foreign governments to repatriate their citizens from Indonesia during the pandemic and has also received flights carrying Indonesians returning from overseas, state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura I Corporate Secretary Handy Heryudhitiawan said on Wednesday.

A total of 22 repatriation flights transporting 3,408 foreign citizens from various countries out of the tourist island went through the airport between Feb. 8 and April 27. 

"The first repatriation flight was organized by the Chinese government to repatriate 61 Chinese citizens on a China Eastern Airlines flight to Wuhan on Feb. 8. The last flight carried 242 Russians on a Rossiya Airlines flight to Samara, Russia, on April 27," Handy said in a statement.

A total of 14 international airlines had operated the repatriation flights: China Eastern, LOT Polish Airlines, Avion Express, Condor Airlines, Qatar Airways, Air Europa, NEOS Airlines, Smartwings, Rossiya Airlines, Sunday Airlines, Air Yakutia, UTAir, Air Cairo and flag carrier Garuda Indonesia.

"[Repatriation] is one of the reasons why airports continue to operate during this pandemic," Handy said.

More Cruise Ship Workers Repatriated

Separately, a total of 143 workers out of a 253-strong Indonesian crew on the Costa Smeralda cruise ship were successfully repatriated on a chartered aircraft to Jakarta and Denpasar on Wednesday. 

The crew workers had been stranded since March 15 at Port of Marseille in France. 

As many as 84 crew members who tested positive for Covid-19 had to be quarantined aboard the Costa Smeralda. 

Indonesia's acting consul general in Marseille, Erie Noer Bawono, said the cruise ship's owner, the Costa Group, would pay for the treatment of all the crew workers quarantined onboard. 

The Indonesian Consulate General in Marseille and the Indonesian Embassy in Rome will organize the repatriation of the Indonesian crew workers, which will include testing them for Covid-19 before they are flown back to Indonesia. 

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