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Thousands on virus lockdown at China-backed plant in Indonesia


AFP Jakarta
More than 40,000 workers at a vast Chinese-controlled industrial complex in Indonesia have been quarantined over fears about the spread of a deadly coronavirus strain which has killed more than 200 people in China, it said Friday.
PT Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park has sealed off its nickel mining hub on Sulawesi island and is barring any of its 43,000 staff from entering or leaving without written permission.
There are some 5,000 guest workers from mainland China at the sprawling site which hosts nickel ore smelters and stainless steel production.
Employees at the 2,000-hectare (5,000 acre) facility, majority owned by China's Shanghai Decent Investment Group, are undergoing medical tests and none has been found to be infected so far, said company spokesman Dedy Kurniawan.
The firm has also imposed a ban on employees or guests from overseas entering the complex and installed thermal scanners at its entrance, he added.
"We have identified and screened foreign workers from Wuhan," Kurniawan told AFP on Friday.
"We also stopped accepting foreign workers." Indonesia has not reported any confirmed infections so far.
Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, is at the centre of the outbreak which is believed to have originated in a market that sold wild animals.
The city of 11 million has since experienced an unprecedented lockdown, preventing residents from leaving in a bid to stop the deadly virus from spreading further.
The lockdown at the Indonesian plant, which started at the weekend, comes as Indonesia said Friday it was preparing to evacuate more than 240 nationals stranded in China near the epicentre of the virus within the next 24 hours.
Indonesia, a Southeast Asian archipelago, attracts more than one million Chinese tourists annually to Bali and other holiday hotspots, and also hosts thousands of guest workers from major investor China.

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First Published: Jan 31 2020 | 3:10 PM IST

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