Returning Indonesians wait for Covid-19 tests for hours as govt reports 13 new death - total cases at 17,205 and death toll at 1,029

Indonesians who worked in foreign countries arriving back in Indonesia on Friday (May 16) after embarking from the cruise ship MV Artania arrive at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta. They are returning home for the Hari Raya holidays but had to waits for hours at the hospital for a Covid-19 test. - Jakarta Post/ANN

JAKARTA: Indonesia reported 529 Covid-19 (coronavirus) infections on Saturday (May 16), taking the total number of cases to 17,025. Indonesia also reported 13 new deaths, taking the total number of deaths to 1,089, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto told an online news conference.

The South-East Asian country as of Saturday (May 16) has tested 135,725 people, Yurianto said.

Yurianto said 35,069 patients with suspected acute respiratory illnesses were being treated across the country.

However, hundreds of Indonesian migrant workers recently returning to the country gathered in a crowd outside the Kemayoran Athletes Village makeshift hospital for Covid-19, forced to spend hours waiting for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing due to technical difficulties.

One of the migrant workers was 33-year-old Tommy Gunawan, who had just flown from Barbados with 222 other Indonesian crewmen of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

They landed at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten at 7am and immediately underwent COVID-19 rapid testing. The test results came back negative at 11am.

Two hours later, military personnel transported the migrant workers to the Kemayoran Athletes Village makeshift hospital, so they could undergo PCR testing to make sure they had not contracted the coronavirus.

However, they were not allowed to enter the building immediately. They were forced to wait by themselves in the yard of the Athletes Village for hours.

“Nobody gave us any explanation. We waited until around 9 p.m., when my group was finally informed that we would be quarantined and have swab samples taken at the Grand Mercure Hotel in Harmoni,” Tommy told The Jakarta Post.

Joint Defence Area Command I commander Vice Adm. Yudo Margono, who oversees the makeshift hospital, said there was a power problem in Tower 9 of the Athletes Village, where authorities had initially planned to quarantine the migrant workers.

Yudo went on to say the facility was not properly prepared as the decision to use the tower was just made on Thursday morning.

“We have solved the problem,” he told the Post on Friday.

“We have also housed another 603 Indonesian crewmen of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship coming from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia in the Athletes Village. They are waiting for medical personnel to take their swab samples.” - The Jakarta Post/Asian News Network
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