Despite rising COVID-19 cases, Indonesia shortens mandatory quarantine from 7 days to 5

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport’s Terminal 3 arrival section in November 2019. Photo: Nadia Vetta Hamid for Coconuts Media
Soekarno-Hatta International Airport’s Terminal 3 arrival section in November 2019. Photo: Nadia Vetta Hamid for Coconuts Media

Fully-vaccinated travelers can now quarantine for just five days in Indonesia, while the country’s COVID-19 caseload continues to climb amid an Omicron wave.

In a press briefing today, Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, who’s overseeing Indonesia’s COVID-19 handling, said the government has decided to shorten mandatory quarantine for international travelers, effective immediately.

“The government has changed quarantine rules from seven days to five days on the condition that foreign and Indonesians who enter Indonesia are fully-vaccinated,” Luhut said.

In Indonesia, being fully-vaccinated means having received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Travelers who have only received one dose are still required to quarantine for seven days, Luhut said.

Luhut added that the new requirement was drawn up with Omicron’s short incubation period and generally less severe symptoms in mind. In addition, unlike a couple of weeks ago, imported cases are now dwarfed by local transmissions, suggesting that international travelers are no longer the main driver behind Indonesia’s recent caseload surge.

The government has also decided to reallocate isolation facilities to prioritize COVID-19 patients over travelers.

Indonesia’s travel policy in the face of the Omicron threat has evolved the more the world learns about the variant. In the first few days of 2022, Indonesia imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine and banned arrivals from countries deemed high-risk from the variant. The government then gradually shortened the quarantine period to 10 days, then seven, and now five, all in the month of January. It has also lifted all travel bans related to Omicron.

While the country has been living with low COVID-19 numbers for several months since the devastating mid-2021 Delta wave, the caseload has surged in the past couple of weeks, first driven by imported cases and now by local transmissions.

Indonesia reported 10,185 new COVID-19 infections today, with more than half coming from Jakarta. On Jan. 30, Indonesia recorded 12,422 cases, bringing the number of active cases over 60,000 for the first time since September 2021.

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