JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi has tested positive for Covid-19, an expert staff member to the minister announced on Monday (Sept 21), adding to the list of public officials that have contracted the coronavirus.
"On Sept 17, the religious affairs minister had taken a PCR test and the result came back positive," Mr Kevin Haikal said in a press statement on Monday. "Thankfully, he is in good condition and has shown no worrying symptoms."
The ministry's spokesman, Mr Oman Fathurahman, said Mr Fachrul had delegated his tasks to deputy minister Zainut Tauhid and other officials while he was recovering in isolation.
"The minister ordered (officials) to continue the ministry's programmes and services and to focus on Covid-19 prevention in educational and religious institutions," Mr Oman said.
"He also asked officials to disburse (social) aid. All coordination for the ministry's programmes will be carried out online," he added.
Mr Oman further said access to the Religious Affairs Ministry building in Central Jakarta had also been restricted for several weeks. The ministry had also imposed a work-from-home policy that applied to most of its employees.
"We will optimise our online service system," he said. There is no plan to shut down the office as of now, he added, however, the ministry planned to implement stricter access and health protocols.
Mr Fachrul also advised the public to remain disciplined in following the health protocols, Mr Oman said.
"Anybody could contract Covid-19, no exception. Let's be empathetic, support one another, and do our best to follow the health protocols," he said.
Meanwhile, Presidential Secretariat head Heru Budi Hartono on Monday rectified his claim that Mr Fachrul had not met President Joko Widodo for one to two months.
"The religious affairs minister attended a Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Palace on Sept. 7. I've checked, thanks for the correction," Mr Heru said as quoted from kompas.com.
However, he said, prior to the meeting, all ministers had undergone PCR tests.
"At that time, (Fachrul's) test result came back negative," he said.
Mr Fachrul is the third minister to test positive for Covid-19.
In March, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi was treated at Gatot Subroto Central Regional Hospital in Jakarta for Covid-19.
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo was also admitted to the intensive care unit at the same hospital after contracting the virus earlier this month, Gerindra Party politician Sufmi Dasco Ahmad said.
Both ministers have made full recoveries.