Jakarta – East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat has agreed to lend Timor Leste a helping hand as the neighboring country pleads for assistance from Indonesia to quarantine its citizens airlifted from coronavirus-stricken China, an NTT administration official says.
"I've informed the governor of the 17 Timor Leste nationals who are due to be repatriated from China and he said he was willing to [quarantine] them in NTT," Marius Ardu Jelamu, the provincial administration spokesperson, said on Wednesday evening.
Marius said the administration was ready to help Dili put their citizens into quarantine in NTT should President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo instruct them to do so.
The governor had ordered the NTT Health Agency and the director of WZ Johannes General Hospital in the provincial capital of Kupang to set up a temporary shelter at the Naimata Mental Hospital for the Timor Leste returnees, he added.
"This is purely for humanity's sake. Human lives are of utmost importance," Marius said as quoted by kompas.com.
NTT shares land and sea borders with Timor Leste. At least five NTT regencies have land borders with the neighboring country and seven have sea boundaries, according to the NTT Boundary Agency.
Timor Leste Planning and Strategic Investment Minister Xanana Gusmao previously said his country had requested assistance from Indonesia for the quarantine on Bali of 17 of its citizens awaiting repatriation from China, saying that Timor Leste lacked the proper infrastructure and equipment to handle coronavirus cases.
The Bali provincial administration confirmed that Timor Leste, through the Indonesian Embassy in Dili, had asked for Indonesian permits and assistance to quarantine 17 of its citizens on the island.
However, the administration on Monday rejected Timor Leste's request. (rfa)