No surprise here: Indonesia cancels plans to level-up restrictions during Christmas and New Year break

Indonesia’s Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan in Feb. 2021. Photo: Humas Kemenko Marves
Indonesia’s Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan in Feb. 2021. Photo: Humas Kemenko Marves

In a somewhat expected move from the Indonesian government, Indonesia has backtracked its plans to observe the third level of the four-tiered Enforcement of Restrictions on Public Activities (PPKM) protocol this coming holiday season.

Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, who oversees the implementation of PPKM, said in a statement today that the government has decided to create a more balanced policy by not treating all regions in Indonesia the same way as the Nataru (an official term combining the Indonesian words Natal, which means Christmas, and Tahun Baru, which means New Year) holiday approaches.

The government previously said the tighter restrictions under Level 3 PPKM would be observed nationwide from Dec. 24, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022.

“The enforcement of the PPKM level during the Nataru holiday will continue to follow the assessment of the pandemic situation as it currently applies, but with some restrictions,” Luhut said

Luhut explained that the decision was taken considering the significant improvement in COVID-19 handling in Indonesia, from the low number of confirmed cases to national vaccination rate.

“Indonesia has so far managed to suppress the number of daily confirmed COVID-19 cases to below 400 cases,” Luhut said.

Active cases and the number of hospitalized patients have been showing a downward trend, which has led to the changing of PPKM levels on regencies and cities throughout Java and Bali. Based on an assessment conducted on Dec. 4, there are only 12 regencies and cities in Java and Bali that are still under the Level 3 of PPKM.

In addition, Luhut said the decision was based on the vaccination rates in Java and Bali islands. The region has already given the first vaccine dose to 76 percent of the population, and both doses to nearly 56 percent of the population. 

Luhut also mentioned how Indonesians have generally shown high COVID-19 antibodies based on the serosurvey, which estimates the population’s antibody levels against infectious diseases through serology tests.

Here are some of the main rules for the upcoming Nataru holiday:

  • Fully-vaccinated travelers who embark on long-distance domestic travels must present a negative antigen test result, which is valid for one day, while partially-vaccinated travelers or those who are unvaccinated due to health reasons are not allowed to travel.
  • Children traveling on planes must present a negative PCR test result, which is valid for three days; while children who are traveling through land and sea transport must present a negative antigen test result, which is valid for one day
  • The government bans new year’s eve celebrations at hotels, malls, tourist attractions, as well as other public places
  • Malls, restaurants, cinemas, and tourist attractions may open to 75 percent capacity with only people indicated as “green” on the government’s PeduliLindungi app can enter
    Social cultural events must be limited to 50 people in attendance

Luhut said that detailed changes on the regulations will be included in the revised instruction issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Over in Jakarta, the provincial government has rescinded the Governor Decree (Kepgub) regarding the enforcement of the Level 3 of PPKM during the year-end holiday. Deputy Governor Ahmad Riza Patria said today that Jakarta will adjust to the central government’s decision.

Also Read:

Indonesia to extend mandatory quarantine for international arrivals to 10 days: Luhut

Christmas-New Year road trippers may have to slap vaccine stickers on their cars

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