Thousands on virus lockdown at China-backed plant in Indonesia (Jakarta Post/Agence France-Presse – January 31, 2020)

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.

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