Budi Sutrisno, Jakarta – A passenger who was allowed to board a Garuda Indonesia flight from Jakarta to Sorong, West Papua, despite having recently tested positive for COVID-19 had been cleared for travel by health authorities, the national flag carrier has said.
"All passengers on the flight received validation and clearance from relevant authorities regarding compliance with health requirements for flight passengers," Garuda president director Irfan Setiaputra said in a statement on Sunday.
Flight GA 682 had also followed physical distancing protocols, with passengers limited to 62 percent of total capacity, Irfan said. He added that Garuda had disinfected the aircraft and had requested that the cabin crews on duty that day self-quarantine.
"We will conduct intensive coordination and communication regarding the follow-up to this incident in order to ensure that health procedures for flights during the new normal transition period run optimally," Irfan said.
Sorong Airport Health Office coordinator Farida Tariq said that health officials had discovered that the passenger, a 20-year-old student, had tested positive for the virus during a routine health document check conducted upon arrival at Domine Eduard Osok Airport in Sorong on Saturday.
According to the latest government regulations on air travel, all prospective passengers must provide documents showing a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or rapid test result before being allowed to fly.
Farida said the student had a document issued by a West Java Health Agency laboratory on June 21 showing a positive PCR result.
The Soekarno-Hatta Airport Health Office did not immediately respond to The Jakarta Post's request for comment.
West Java Health Agency head Berli Hamdani confirmed that the passenger was a Sorong resident who was studying in West Java.
"[The passenger] is not a resident of West Java but is studying here. But students here have been asked to study at home for a while now," Berli told the Post on Monday.
Berli declined to say whether the student should have been self-isolating but said that local health agencies had been monitoring COVID-19 patients to ensure that they were isolating either at hospitals or in their homes.
"[The case] is still being studied by the provincial health agency. As soon as we have clear details, we will inform the public," he said.