THE MINISTRY of Transportation has again made adjustments to international travel requirements in order to prevent the new variant of COVID-19, namely variant B.1.1.529 or Omicron, from entering Indonesia.

Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi said the adjustment was made by tightening international entry points at air, sea and land transportation nodes, as regulated in the Transportation Ministry’s Circular Letter (CL) published on Monday (11/29).

“This adjustment is an anticipatory step for the Ministry of Transportation to prevent the entry of new variants of COVID-19 to Indonesia, by tightening the application of health protocols at transportation nodes, such as airports, ports, and the National Cross Border Post,” said Budi Karya in his statement in Jakarta, Monday (11/29).

Budi Karya said, the CL of the Ministry of Transportation regarding the Guidelines for International Traveling refers to the CL of the Covid-19 Handling Task Force Number 23 of 2021 concerning International Travel Health Protocols and the SE of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights Number IMI-0269.GR.01.01 of 2021 concerning Temporary Restrictions on Foreigners Who Have Been Visiting Territories of Certain Countries To Enter Indonesian Territory In Order To Prevent The Spread Of The New Variant Of COVID-19.

There are a number of policies implemented at transportation nodes that serve international arrivals, including temporarily closing/banning the entry of Foreign Citizens to Indonesia, with a travel history of the last 14 days from 11 countries, namely: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Leshoto, Mozambique, Eswatini, Malawi, Angola, Zambia and Hong Kong.

For Indonesian citizens who travel to Indonesia and have a travel history from these 11 countries, they are required to quarantine for 14×24 hours. Then increase the quarantine time to 7×24 hours from the previous 3×24 hours, for foreigners and Indonesian citizens who travel to Indonesia and have a history of travel outside of these 11 countries.

The Minister of Transportation said that Ministry would continue to observe the development of dynamics in the field and would coordinate intensively with relevant stakeholders, namely the COVID-19 Task Force, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI)/Indonesian National Police (Polri), and other related elements.

“We also instruct all operators of transportation facilities and infrastructure to immediately adjust, implement, and also supervise the implementation of the CL Ministry of Transportation in the field,” he said.

As is known, based on information from the COVID-19 Task Force, a new variant of the Omicron COVID-19 has now been found in South Africa, and it has spread to several countries.

Therefore, it is necessary to adjust the control mechanism for international travel as an effort to protect Indonesian citizens from cases of importation. WHO has designated the new variant of COVID-19 Omicron as a variant of concern (VOC). [antaranews/photo special]