The man, who has only been publicly identified by the initials “DW,” boarded a Citilink domestic flight from Jakarta to Ternate while wearing a niqab that covered him from head to toe, reports the CNN affiliate, CNN Indonesia.
The disguise was intended to allow the man to fly even though he would have tested positive for Covid-19. His wife, however, had tested negative, so he used her negative identification and PCR test results to board the plane at Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport in Jakarta, the report said.
It is not known if the man would have been caught had he not given up his ruse in the air.
A flight attendant reportedly told authorities that she saw “DW” enter an airplane washroom and then come out wearing men’s clothing instead of the niqab – a full face veil with an opening for the eyes. She informed the Ternate airport authorities, who arrested the passenger as he got off the plane.
An on-site health worker immediately tested the man for Covid-19, and the PCR test came back positive, officials said.
After that, “the airport immediately contacted the Ternate City Covid-19 management task force team to evacuate the man while wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), then took him to an ambulance. to his home (in Ternate City) to self-isolate, where he will be supervised by officers of the task force, ”Ternate Covid-19 task force operational chief Muhammad Arif Gani told reporters.
After her period of self-isolation ended, local police said they intended to prosecute “DW”.
Coronavirus cases are increasing rapidly in Indonesia. The fourth most populous country in the world is currently the hotspot for the disease in Asia, and many of the most recent cases are confirmed to be the deadly Delta variant.
In addition, vaccine deployment has been slow. To date, only about 6% of the total population is fully immunized.
A health survey released in early July found that nearly half of those tested in Jakarta had Covid antibodies, meaning the outbreak in the capital may have been much larger than previously believed .
CNN’s Amy Sood contributed reporting.