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Indonesia to halt migrant worker placement in mainland China amid virus outbreak

Jakarta Post - February 8, 2020

Ardila Syakriah, Jakarta – The Manpower Ministry has announced it will ask Indonesian migrant worker placement companies (P3MI) to stop placing workers in mainland China and will tighten screenings of future departures to Hong Kong and Taiwan amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The ministry's head for migrant worker protection during the placement period, Maptuha, said at a press briefing in Jakarta on Friday that the ministry would send letters to the companies to appeal for the suspension of placements after the government imposed a travel ban to and from the region on Wednesday.

As for Hong Kong and Taiwan, the government would ask the companies to tighten their screenings of migrant workers' health prior to placement, given that no travel ban had been imposed on the regions.

"We are not tightening in terms of numbers of migrant workers placed there. However, in terms of requirements, we will re-verify their medical check-up results. We will also provide migrant workers with information on the novel coronavirus outbreak to make sure they understand what is going on in those countries and understand the risks of going there," Maptuha said.

Data from the ministry showed that Indonesia had placed 6,130 migrant workers in Taiwan, 4,955 in Hong Kong, 1,410 in Singapore, 5,750 in Malaysia, 283 in South Korea and two in Macau and mainland China respectively in January.

A 44-year-old Indonesian domestic helper in Singapore was the first Indonesian to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. She is under isolation treatment at the Singapore General Hospital after she contracted the virus from her employer.

Maptuha said that the woman had refused to have her identity revealed to the public and for her family to be informed about her condition.

Following the travel ban, Maptuha said that Chinese workers currently on holiday for the Lunar New Year in mainland China would be given reentry permits to Indonesia, as long as they did not fly directly from the region and underwent thorough screening and quarantine upon their arrival in Indonesia.

"Chinese workers that are in Indonesia, whose permits are about to end or have already ended, will be given extended permits of up to 30 days and will be allowed to return home if they want. We will give visas as long as they have work permits," Maptuha said.

As of Monday, there were 40,357 Chinese workers in Indonesia, who would be trained to maintain their health, Maptuha said.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/02/07/indonesia-to-halt-migrant-worker-placement-in-mainland-china-amid-virus-outbreak.html