Going against WHO’s appeal, Indonesia has officially jumped on the travel restriction bandwagon in its bid to prevent the Omicron COVID-19 variant from reaching its shores.
The Transportation Ministry yesterday updated the country’s international travel restrictions, with the most notable change being the denial of entry for foreign travelers who have within the past 14 days been to 11 nations and territories where Omicron has been detected.
These countries and territories are: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Eswatini, Malawi, Angola, Zambia, and Hong Kong. It remains to be seen if the ban would be expanded to cover other nations where Omicron have been detected, namely Australia, Canada, and several European countries.
Indonesians with travel history to the list of banned source countries and territories must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Furthermore, all other international arrivals are now required to undergo 7 days of quarantine upon touching down in Indonesia, up from 3 days previously.
“We will continue to monitor developments and coordinate intensively with the COVID-19 Task Force, the Health Ministry, the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, the military, and police,” Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said today about any possible updates to the travel restrictions.
Indonesia has yet to officially detect the Omicron variant in its shores.
WHO, which has categorized Omicron as a variant of concern due to its wide range of mutations, previously warned against knee-jerk reaction from governments amid an increasing number are travel bans being imposed, particularly against African countries. The specialized UN agency instead has recommended the prioritization of health protocols, as well as testing and tracing, as experts work in the next few weeks to fill the gaps in the knowledge about Omicron.