Booster shots to be required for travel, mall entry amid rising COVID-19 cases

COVID-19 vaccine being administered in Indonesia. Photo: Health Ministry
COVID-19 vaccine being administered in Indonesia. Photo: Health Ministry

The Indonesian government is set to boost vaccination screenings at public places and for travel amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country, with booster shots expected to play a more instrumental role.

In an official statement yesterday, Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, who also oversees the country’s COVID-19 crisis handling, said that COVID-19 booster shots will be required to enter malls, offices, and other public spaces.

“In addition, the government will reimplement booster shots as a requirement for travel, be it by air, land, or sea. All of this will be enforced within two weeks’ time,” Luhut said.

Throughout 2022, with Indonesia’s COVID-19 caseload relatively low until recent weeks, two primary doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were sufficient to enter public spaces and for travel.

Malls have become one area of concern, with data from mobility tracking app PeduliLindungi showing that out of an average of 1.9 million people who go to malls daily in Indonesia, only 24.6 percent have received their booster shots.

PeduliLindungi may also once again play a bigger role in COVID-19 screening per the government’s instructions, with the app largely being taken for granted as public attitudes towards COVID-19 relax amid low infection numbers this year.

Indonesia has consistently recorded around 2,000 new COVID-19 cases daily over the past couple of weeks, which represents a rise from earlier this year but is still far lower than the devastating numbers in 2021. 

President Joko Widodo has also called on the government to push the distribution of booster vaccines, with the country expected to see significant increase in infections in the third week of July due to the proliferation of the Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.

Related — Masks can remain off outdoors, Indonesia’s health minister clarifies

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