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Indonesia to ban foreign arrivals as it declares health emergency

President signs regulation to ease budget deficit rule for three years

A worker wearing a protective suit sprays disinfectant at the international arrivals terminal of Soekarno-Hatta Airport near Jakarta, Indonesia, on March 13.

JAKARTA -- Indonesia declared a national public health emergency on Tuesday and will ban all foreign arrivals to the country, as the Southeast Asian nation tries to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.

The decision comes as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the archipelago reached 1,528 people, with 136 deaths, on Tuesday. The country did not have a single confirmed case at the start of March. Indonesia's death rate from the disease of close to 9% is one of the highest in the world.

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