Indonesia to consider changing entry quarantine rules due to Omicron


JAKARTA, Dec 22 — Indonesia is continuing to evaluate existing measures to protect its people from Covid-19 and Omicron variant after the first case of the new variant detected in the republic last week.

Measures under discussion include extending mandatory quarantine for international arrivals to 14 days from 10 days.

“Our discussions on the measures are ongoing based on how the situation relating to the new variant develops,” Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said.

He said authorities might open Surabaya’s Juanda International Airport as the second gateway for international travelers due to a surge in the number of travelers arriving in Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta Airport.

Luhut urged state officials and citizens not to travel abroad, at least until the COVID-19 situation improves.

“I implore all of you to reconsider travel abroad and postpone all non-essential travel. We don’t want to see a repeat of the tense time like seen in July this year.”

Indonesia had overtaken India on July 13, as Asia’s new epicenter for the deadly pandemic, with daily infections exceeding 40,000 cases for two straight days, two weeks after Aidilfitri celebrations.

Meanwhile, Indonesia added more countries into its entry ban list on Monday, after three imported Omicron variant cases detected with travel history from Nigeria, South America, and the United Kingdom.

The country has added the United Kingdom, Norway, and Denmark to the red list, while Hong Kong has been removed from the list.

Indonesia already barred non-citizens who in the last 14 days have travelled to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Eswatini, Malawi, Angola and Zambia.

On domestic front, President Joko Widodo’s administration has extended public activity restrictions outside Java and Bali through at least January 3, 2022 due to the Christmas and New Year holidays.

In his remarks on Monday, the president called all ministries and agencies to have the same commitment in facing the critical December period.

According to Indonesian Health Ministry, the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases has risen by 216 from the previous day to 4,260,893 cases as of Dec 21.

The number of deaths rose by 11 to 144,024 and the number of recovered patients rose by 205 to 4,112,040. The country has administered 261 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.