Jakarta. The Indonesian government has sent a ship to the naval hospital to evacuate 188 Indonesian crew of the World Dream cruise ship to be sent to an uninhabited island near Jakarta for coronavirus observation, health officials said Tuesday.
Achmad Yurianto, secretary general of the Ministry of Health’s Directorate for Disease Control and Environmental Health, said that the crew members have passed medical checks by the Hong Kong authorities, but the government requires them to join the group observation for another 14 days to make sure they are free from the highly contagious virus.
“We also received information from the World Dream medical team that none of the Indonesians have typical Covid-19 symptoms,” Yurianto said in a video conference with reporters gathered at the Ministry of Health complex in Jakarta.
Crew members have passed the 14-day coronavirus incubation period since medical checks in Hong Kong were conducted on February 5-9 and no one showed signs of infection, he said.
The hospital ship Dr. Soeharso left for the Durian Strait off the coast of Riau province where World Dream dropped anchor. The expected arrival time is around 10 am on Wednesday, he said.
After the transfer from the cruise ship, the 188 crew members will be transported to the island of Sebaru, in the Thousand Islands district of Jakarta. They are expected to arrive on the island around 3:00 am on Friday, he said.
While on the hospital ship, everyone will undergo initial checks and doctors will take samples for laboratory tests.
Yurianto said there are around 270 Indonesian crew members on the cruise ship, but only 188 have agreed to join the observation on the island. The others chose to stay on the ship to continue their trip to Seattle, the United States, he said.
Sebaru Island was a rehabilitation facility for drug addicts. The property has clinics, bedrooms, kitchens and air conditioning machines.
Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto said the government plans to quarantine 74 Indonesian crew on the Diamond Princess cruise ship on the island, but negotiations with the Japanese authorities have not been concluded.
The evacuation of Diamond Princess crew members will be a riskier mission because many of its passengers and crew members have been infected with the coronavirus, including four Indonesians who are now being treated in separate hospitals in Japan.
The government initially planned to send the hospital ship to evacuate the Diamond Princess crew members, but the mission was delayed pending authorization from Japan.
Diamond Princess was quarantined off the Japanese city of Yokohama following the outbreak of the coronavirus inside the ship.
“We are still negotiating with Japan on the best means of evacuating the crew members [from Diamond Princess]”Terawan said.
“But for now, let’s focus on the evacuation of World Dream crew members,” said Terawan.