NTT suspends flights, boat trips amid rising COVID-19 cases

East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Governor Viktor Laiskodat. Photo: NTT Provincial Administration
East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Governor Viktor Laiskodat. Photo: NTT Provincial Administration

East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) is imposing a temporary suspension on flights and boats for the next two weeks following a recent spike in coronavirus cases, illustrating an unexpectedly bold measure in Indonesia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Isyak Nuka, who heads NTT’s Transportation Agency, said the policy applies not just within the province, but also for flights and boats entering or leaving the region. Only logistics and cargo are exempted from the ban.

“The temporary suspension applies for two weeks, starting from July 7 to July 21,” Isyak confirmed last night.

NTT officials reported 1,033 new cases on Sunday, though there seems to be a discrepancy with data released by the Health Ministry for that day, which showed 340 cases for the province. The numbers have evidently spurred the province into action, with NTT Governor Viktor Laiskodat also calling for increased tracing, testing, and treatment.

Yesterday, Health Ministry data showed 632 new daily cases in NTT. Out of Indonesia’s 34 provinces, that makes NTT’s daily caseload the 7th highest. 

It is worth noting that NTT is not among the provinces where tighter restrictions under Emergency Enforcement of Restriction on Public Activities (Emergency PPKM) are implemented in Indonesia. The new restrictions, which is the closest thing the country has seen to a lockdown, is ongoing on the islands of Java and Bali until at least July 20.

Read more news and updates from Bali and eastern Indonesia here

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