An Indonesian man who was covid-positive disguised himself as his wife to board a domestic flight but was caught midway, after a flight attendant spotted him changing into his regular clothes.
The man, who went by his initials, wore a full-face veil known as ‘niqab’ to board, which obscured his face.
“He bought the plane ticket with his wife’s name and brought the identity card, the PCR test result and the vaccination card with his wife’s name. All documents are under his wife’s name,” Ternate police chief Aditya Laksimada said.
Police said it was not long before a flight attendant aboard a Citilink plane traveling from Jakarta to Ternate in North Maluku province noticed the man change the clothes in the lavatory.
Police told reporters that the man was detained after the plane landed and was tested immediately.
After testing positive for the virus, he was ordered to self-isolate at home.
Police say they will move to prosecute him as soon as his quarantine ends.
The incident comes amid Indonesia’s devastating wave of coronavirus infections, driven by the Delta variant. Still, the government is already talking about relaxing restrictions enforced earlier this month - a move analysts say is largely dominated by economic considerations.
The healthcare infrastructure in Asia’s covid-19 epicentre is severely strained as people scramble to find hospital beds, oxygen and medicine for loved ones.
President Joko Widodo is already talking about easing restrictions from as early as next week if cases start to drop.
But health experts have warned the decision is likely “premature and potentially dangerous.”
The country reported 49,000 cases and 1,566 deaths on Friday.
While cases have falled from more than 56,000 in mid-July, epidemiologists have warned that testing rates also dropped in the same period, making it difficult to determine whether there has been a genuine fall in covid-19 infections.
Includes reporting by AP and Reuters
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