In a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19), the Indonesian government has announced that they will impose a temporary ban on all foreign nationals entering the country. The restrictions will come into place from 2nd April 2020. It is not yet clear how long they will last.
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Jakarta yesterday (31/3) that the restrictions will bar all foreigners from entering Indonesia until further notice. This will include travellers in transit. The ban will not apply to holders of residential, work or diplomatic permits.
The move represents a dramatic change in the government’s stance – Indonesia had previously limited flights to and from mainland China (along with several regions in Italy, South Korea and Iran), but refused to close its borders.
On Monday, Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo (known locally as ‘Jokowi’) called for more stringent enforcement of social distancing and self-quarantine, though resisted calls for a formal lockdown. It appears the blockade on foreign arrivals forms part of a broader escalation in measures to combat the pandemic and curb its influence in Indonesia.
The ban on foreign arrivals follows an example set by several of Indonesia’s neighbours – including Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam – who have already resolved to close their doors, either partially or in full, to international visitors throughout April.
According to a separate announcement by Bali Governor Wayan Koster yesterday, Bali will enforce a 14-day self-quarantine period for all people entering the island. Following a meeting of Bali’s COVID-19 task force on Monday, officials also confirmed the popular holiday island will raise its warning status to grant more powers to enforcement personnel.
“With the status, the administration, police, Indonesian Military (TNI) and other elements can carry out stricter efforts to prevent COVID-19,” explained Dewa Made Indra, who is regional secretary of the Bali administration and chairman of the island’s COVID-19 task force, in a statement released yesterday (31/3). “This is important to give stronger protection to Bali residents,” he added.
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