Medan, - The University of Sumatera Utara (USU) has begun applying e-learning platforms on Tuesday for its students to contain the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This policy was revealed in the rector of this leading public university's letter of 3195/UNS/1/R/KPM/2020 containing an order to tighten surveillance and prevention against the COVID-19 infection which was then disseminated to journalists on Monday.

According to USU Spokesperson Evi Sumanti, the teaching and learning activities could be conducted through the online learning facilities on and such platforms as the google classrooms and free web conferencing tool, zoom.

The USU rectorate also cancelled or rescheduled all field teaching and learning as well as community service programs while there would be no change for students who had been eligible for getting their final examinations for their theses and dissertations.

The authorities of their respective faculties would manage their students who would have their thesis and dissertation defending examinations but all of them were obliged to remain alert and take precautionary measures for containing the spread of COVID-19.

For teaching staff and students who suffer from cough, influenza, and fever, as well as one of the symptoms of COVID-19, they are requested not to come to campus for the sake of the safety of themselves, their families, and community members, Evi Sumanti said.

USU is just one of the higher institutions in Indonesia which has shifted its classroom activities amid the global pandemic of COVID-19 by applying the online learning platforms.

Lampung University has also taken the same policy which is made effective for two weeks until March 28, 2020.

As of Monday, the COVID-19 had infected at least 134 people in several cities across Indonesia, including Jakarta, Bandung, Tangerang, Solo, Yogyakarta, Bali, Manado, and Pontianak.

Indonesia has become one of the countries whose citizens have contracted COVID-19. The Indonesian authorities have also declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak as a national disaster.

The death toll from the virus has reached five, while eight COVID-19 patients have received discharge from hospitals while seven others are expected to recover soon.

On Saturday evening, the Indonesian government confirmed that Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi had tested positive for COVID-19, and he is currently undergoing treatment at the Gatot Subroto Army Hospital, Jakarta.

Sumadi, the 76th COVID-19 patient in Indonesia, is a minister in the Joko Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin administration that has persistently and proactively been in the frontline in the government's handling of this virus, Minister of State Secretary Pratikno stated.

With Sumadi receiving hospital treatment, President Joko Widodo has assigned Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan to serve as the ad interim transportation minister, he remarked.