Indonesia abolishes Omicron travel ban because the variant is basically everywhere now

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport’s Terminal 3 in November 2019. <em>Photo: Nadia Vetta Hamid for Coconuts Media</em>
Soekarno-Hatta International Airport’s Terminal 3 in November 2019. Photo: Nadia Vetta Hamid for Coconuts Media

Indonesia has abolished its travel ban on 14 countries categorized as high Omicron risk after coming to the realization that the policy was practically pointless considering the variant’s massive global spread.

The COVID-19 Task Force said economic considerations were behind the lifting of the ban.

“If [the ban] was still in effect, it would hamper international travel needed to uphold state stability, including the recovery of the national economy,” COVID-19 Task Force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito wrote in an official statement published today.

Wiku added that the task force and the government saw the travel ban as ultimately futile, considering that Omicron has spread to 150 countries by this point.

Regardless of where travelers are coming from, they will now be required to quarantine for 7 days upon arrival. The same rule applies to Indonesians returning from abroad.

Shorter mandatory quarantine is what the central government had been clamoring for considering Omicron’s shorter incubation period.

Before today’s policy update, Indonesia banned arrivals from 14 countries, including the UK, France, and South Africa. Indonesians returning from these countries were required to undergo 10 days of mandatory quarantine.

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