A passenger looks at flight schedules on a screen at Soekarno-Hatta Airport’s terminal 3 in Tangerang, Banten, on March 21, 2020. (Antara Photo/Fauzan)

US, UK in Rush to Repatriate Citizens From Indonesia

BY :HERU ANDRIYANTO, DIANA MARISKA

MARCH 27, 2020

Jakarta. The British and American embassies in Jakarta have advised their citizens to depart from Indonesia and do so “as soon as practicable”, citing the host's capacity in dealing with the ever growing Covid-19 cases and limited commercial flights from Indonesia.

The U.S. Embassy issued a statement on Thursday ordering the departure of embassy employees’ family members under the age of 21 from Embassy Jakarta, the U.S. Mission to ASEAN, Consulate General Surabaya and Consulate Medan.

“The Department of State made this decision due to evidence of Covid-19 in Indonesia, current Indonesian medical capacity and current availability of flights out of Indonesia,” it said.  

It also called for other U.S. citizens currently in Indonesia to arrange for immediate return to the United States, “unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an extended period”.  

“U.S. citizens seeking to depart Indonesia should make their own travel arrangements as soon as practicable, since commercial flights are still available, albeit at significantly reduced levels,” it said.

Earlier on Wednesday, U.K. ambassador to Indonesia Owen Jenkins said it is now the main priority of the embassy to help with the repatriation of Britons in Indonesia, particularly holidaymakers still stranded in Bali,

"All of us here at the embassy and in our consulate in Bali are doing everything we can to help [those Britons] get home. All hands are on deck, and I have instructed every member of my staff to drop everything else," Jenkins said in a video conference. 

Maintaining communication with airlines is one of the embassy's priorities as more and more flights are being canceled.

"We're in touch with more than ten airlines. We're pressing them to keep flying and to add more capacity. We're in talks about reinstating flights and adding new ones," Jenkins said.

According to the government data released on Thursday, Indonesia has 893 positive Covid-19 cases with 78 fatalities, more than double the number of recoveries.

There were 103 new cases on Thursday, the second time the country has a triple-digit surge in a single day. Jakarta has become a breeding ground of the virus with 515 positive cases and 46 deaths so far.

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