JAKARTA, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Indonesia said on Tuesday its plan to temporarily stop some imports from China over coronavirus concerns would only apply to shipments of live animals, and not all food and beverage products, a senior minister said.
The trade minister said on Monday the Southeast Asian country will suspend food and beverage imports from China as a precaution to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“The methods of disease transmission are by human-to-human and through wild animals, so the government’s policy is to ban imports of live animals from China,” Airlangga Hartarto, chief economic affairs minister, said in a live broadcast on the Cabinet Secretariat’s Twitter account.
“If any had been shipped for Indonesia, we will return them,” he said, while underlining that Indonesia will continue importing fruit and vegetable products from China.
Hartarto made the comments after attending a cabinet meeting with President Joko Widodo in Bogor city, West Java, discussing the economic impact and Indonesia’s response to the epidemic in China, which has killed over 420 people, infected some 20,000 others and spread to over 20 countries. There have been no confirmed cases of infection in Indonesia.
Expecting a hit in tourism, Hartarto said the government will encourage airlines to give special rates for the country’s top tourism destinations, such as Bali, Riau Islands and North Sulawesi’s Manado city, to attract tourists from countries other than China.
Indonesia has barred entry to visitors who have been in China for 14 days and will stop all flights to and from there from Wednesday.
It will also stop sending migrant workers to China, Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah said, adding there would be tighter measures for workers who want to work in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Reporting by Tabita Diela and Agustinus Beo Da Costa; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by David Evans