The government has stopped granting visas to foreigners who have lived or visited India in the last 14 days.
“The policy will take effect on Sunday, April 25, 2021. This regulation will be temporary and will continue to be reviewed,” said Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, Friday, April 23, 2021.
Airlangga explained, President Joko Widodo gave direction that the government must remember and be especially vigilant about the increase in Covid-19 cases in India.
“We have a meeting with several notes, namely the development of cases in India has reached 15 million, new cases are over 300 thousand per day. The increase in cases is alarming and there is the new Covid-19 strain, so the government is tightening some things specifically for India,” he said.
Indonesian citizens who will return to Indonesia and have lived or visited Indian territory within 14 days are still allowed to enter with tightened health protocols.
The point of arrival that is opened for Indonesian citizens is through the airport, namely Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Juanda, Kualanamu, and Sam Ratulangi.
Apart from that, the sea ports are Batam, Tanjung Pinang and Dumai. Meanwhile, the land routes are Entikong, Nunukan, and Malinong.
These Indonesian citizens must undergo a 14-day quarantine at a special hotel and a PCR test with a negative result a maximum of 2 times 24 hours before departure and the first day of arrival to Indonesia.
“Then, the 13th day after quarantine we will make again the PCR test. This protocol tightening applies to all modes of land, sea, and air transportation,” said Airlangga.
“All (citizens from India) will not be granted, therefore automatically passenger flights are not allowed. The tightening is based on the SE Director General of Immigration,” said the Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi.
“However, we do still need a logistical movement. This means that we need to go to and from India for dropping oxygen and vaccines, we do that selectively,” explained Budi.
Apart from Indonesia, several countries have already banned flights from India. Among them are Canada, Britain, United Arab Emirates.
Several parties see India as complacent when the daily Covid-19 cases reach around 10.000, thus lifting several restrictions on health protocols that have been in place so far.
The number of new cases of the Coronavirus in India continues to increase following the recent winter and religious holidays.
For two consecutive days, Thursday and Friday 22-23 April 2021, India recorded the highest cases in the world.
This Friday there were 332.730 new cases so that the total Covid-19 cases in India have exceeded 16 million cases.
12 Positive People
The Head of Soekarno-Hatta Airport’s Class 1 Immigration Office Romi Yudianto said 117 Indian citizens entered Indonesia Wednesday night, April 21, 2021, and they had been handled according to applicable procedures.
According to Romi, the 117 Indians have a Limited Stay Permit Card (KITAS / ITAS) and a Permanent Stay Permit Card (KITAP / ITAS). They boarded an AirAsia plane.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said the government had conducted Covid-19 PCR tests on 127 passengers of the plane. Test results showed 12 of the 127 passengers were positive for Covid-19.
“Of the 127 Indian citizens who have tested for COVID-19, all have been tested. To date, 12 of them have tested positive for COVID-19,” said the former deputy minister of BUMN.
As a follow-up, said Budi Gunadi, a sample of 12 people would be genomically sequenced to detect a variant of the Coronavirus that might have been carried by dozens of positive Indian citizens.
Meanwhile, PT Angkasa Pura II (Persero) carries out strict supervision of passengers on international routes that land at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
Soekarno-Hatta Airport Executive General Manager Agus Haryadi said PT Angkasa Pura II had prepared facilities to support increased supervision of Indonesian citizens or citizens arriving from abroad, including from India.
“We coordinate with several stakeholders, such as the Port Health Office of the Ministry of Health, immigration, customs and excise, and airlines to ensure international passenger surveillance procedures,” said Agus.
To prevent transmission of Covid-19 from citizens who come from abroad, the government is asked to quarantine foreigners who enter Indonesia.
Professor Tjandra Yoga Aditama from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Indonesia, who suggested that everyone arriving from abroad be closely monitored.
“Everyone who enters Indonesia, including from India, of course, must first undergo quarantine before they can carry out their activities,” he said.
“The implementation of this quarantine must continue strictly in accordance with the applicable regulations, and if someone is suspected of being sick, they must be handled according to the procedure and the possibility of their contact being closely traced,” added Prof. Tjandra.
According to him, it is very necessary to carry out “whole genome sequencing” checks on those who are suspected, for example, currently ill with Covid-19 even though they have just come from countries that have reported an increase in cases that may be associated with new mutations.
“The increase in the number of” whole genome sequencing “tests is the key to identifying possible new variants and mutations that may exist in our country,” said the former director of WHO Southeast Asia.
photo by AP PHOTO / RAJESH KUMAR SINGH