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No more quarantine for air travellers arriving in Indonesia

JAKARTA (THE STRAITS TIMES/ANN) – International air travellers arriving in Indonesia no longer have to serve quarantine, as Covid-19 cases trend downwards around the vast archipelago.

“The government decided to take several measures to ease restrictions. International travellers arriving in all airports across Indonesia no longer need to serve quarantine,” President Joko Widodo said in a speech yesterday.

Travellers will still need to do a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival in Indonesia, Widodo added, without saying if pre-departure test would continue to be
a requirement.

Previously, travellers from overseas who were fully vaccinated or had a booster shot must serve a one-day quarantine, while those who were partially vaccinated served seven days of quarantine.

Yesterday’s announcement came after a successful two-week trial of quarantine-free travel for visitors arriving on the main tourist islands of Bali, Batam and Bintan.

Currently, international arrivals by air are only allowed at the Soekarno-Hatta main international airport outside Jakarta and six other airports: Juanda in East Java; Ngurah Rai in Bali, Hang Nadim in Batam; Raja Haji Fisabilillah in Tanjung Pinang; Sam Ratulangi in Manado and Zainuddin Abdul Madjid in Central Lombok.

Travellers will still need to do a polymerase chain reaction test upon arrival in Indonesia. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Other than the seven airports, overseas travellers may arrive in Indonesia by sea only via Bali, Batam, Tanjung Pinang, Nunukan in North Kalimantan, and by land via Entikong in West Kalimantan and Motaain in Nusa Tenggara Timur.

Other entry points have temporarily been closed because of the pandemic.

Widodo did not say yesterday if the lifting of quarantine also applied to land and sea travellers.

In his speech, he also said Indonesians who have had their booster shot can go on their annual Hari Raya home trips this year.

Despite a ban on such trips in the past two years, millions of people had travelled across the vast archipelago during the festive period, causing a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Breaking-of-fast gatherings and Hari Raya open house gatherings are banned for civil servants and high-ranking officials this year, Widodo added. Last year, the ban was for everyone.

Indonesia’s Covid-19 infection and death numbers have been on a decline in recent weeks. It has reported 5.98 million cases so far, with 6,376 new infections yesterday, down from 7,464 the day before.

The authorities said yesterday there were 159 deaths in the past 24 hours – down from 170 on Tuesday – bringing the total death tally to 154,221.

At the peak of the Omicron wave in the third week of February, daily new cases were reported to be above 30,000 and daily deaths above 300.

Indonesia has been praised for accelerating its vaccine roll-out despite the vast geographical challenge.

It has fully vaccinated 75 per cent of its eligible population. Some 94 per cent of the people had received the first shot as at March 22, placing Indonesia among the world’s top five countries with the highest number of vaccinations.