Indonesia's religious affairs minister tests positive for Covid-19

Indonesia Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi took a PCR test on Sept 17, 2020, and the result came back positive, said one of his staff members.
PHOTO: Facebook/KementerianAgamaRI

Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi has tested positive for Covid-19, an expert staff member to the minister announced Monday, 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,” Kevin Haikal said in a press statement on Monday.

"Thankfully, he is in good condition and has shown no worrying symptoms." The ministry's spokesperson, Oman Fathurahman, said 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 programs and services and to focus on Covid-19 prevention in educational and religious institutions," Oman said.

"He also asked officials to disburse [social] aid. All coordination for the ministry's programs will be carried out online," he added.

"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.

''Fachrul also advised the public to remain disciplined in following the health protocols, 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 rectified on Monday his claim that Fachrul had not met with President Joko "Jokowi" 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," 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.

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 ICU at the same hospital after contracting the virus earlier this month, Gerindra Party politician Sufmi Dasco Ahmad said.

Both ministers have made full recoveries.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.