February 1, 2020 / 7:01 AM / 22 days ago

Indonesian evacuees from China's Hubei to be quarantined in Natuna military base

An officer wearing a protective suit walks in a Batik aiplane before taking off to pick up Indonesian citizens at Wuhan, in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Tangerang near Jakarta, Indonesia February 1, 2020 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Muhammad Iqbal/ via REUTERS

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian officials said on Saturday that around 250 of its nationals being evacuated from China’s Hubei province, the center of the coronavirus epidemic, will be quarantined in its Natuna Islands military base.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said all the evacuees, along with five officials arranging their return on the Batik Air flight, were healthy and that further medical checks would be conducted on board the plane and at their arrival in Indonesia.

Military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said the evacuees would be housed at the military facility on the northern Natuna Besar island, which has a hospital, for “transit observation.”

Tjahjanto did not specify how long the group would remain on the island, but Marsudi has previously said they would be kept away from other people for at least 14 days to avoid contagion. There have not been any confirmed cases of coronavirus in Indonesia.

The Indonesian plane was also taking medical equipment, including face masks and surgical supplies, for use in China, where the number of deaths from the coronavirus epidemic has risen to 259.

Reporting by Johan Purnomo and Adi Kurniawan; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo; editing by Jane Wardell

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