Indonesia is still hotly debating the pros and cons of reinstating mandatory PCR testing for domestic flights, yet already the government is moving forward with a plan to make the gold standard COVID-19 test method mandatory on all modes of public transportation to avoid another wave of infections following the end of year break.
Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Panjaitan yesterday held a press conference announcing the plan.
“Gradually, the use of PCR testing will be implemented on other modes of transportation in anticipation of Christmas and New Year,” Luhut said.
The government has set a price ceiling for PCR tests at IDR495K (US$35), which puts them higher than some domestic airfares and train and bus ticket prices, and practically out of reach for many Indonesians.
Luhut said President Joko Widodo has given instructions to lower the ceiling.
“The president has instructed that the price for a PCR test be lowered to IDR300K (US$21), the result of which is valid for three days for air travel,” he said.
While many have complained about mandatory PCR testing from a price point, health experts have welcomed the policy, arguing that it’s necessary to avoid case spikes caused by false negatives from less reliable test methods.