Indonesia Plans Shortened Quarantine of Five Days

The news comes less than a week before Bali reopens to international flights from selected countries.

Padar Island in eastern Indonesia’s Komodo National Park. (Photo: Rashel Ochoa/Unsplash)

Indonesia’s tourism minister Sandiaga Uno has just announced a reduction of the mandatory self-isolation period for overseas arrivals from eight days to five. It is the first time the change has been made public, and the cabinet official said this was based on a directive from President Joko Widodo with the support of the health ministry. Several factors informed the decision, not least the scientific evidence that pointed to a shorter incubation period for the Delta variant compared to previous strains of Covid-19.

“Based on the data, the average incubation is 3.7–3.8 [days], and with increased vaccination, testing, and tracing, we have received this recommendation,” Sandiaga said at an event in Yogyakarta. Indonesia has been administering more than a million vaccine doses per day, but there remains a sizable gap between inoculation rates in less developed districts and economic centers or key tourist destinations.

Jakarta is now the most-vaccinated region in the country; an estimated 75 percent of the population has received a second dose of a Covid-19 jab. Bali is not far behind at 64 percent, and the island is due to reopen on October 14 to travelers from China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and the UAE. Incidentally, the third- and fourth-most vaccinated provinces are the Riau Islands (home to Batam and Bintan) and Yogyakarta.

It’s not just the shortened quarantine rules that will benefit business travelers heading to the Indonesian capital. On Wednesday, passenger caps of 90 people per international flight were removed for Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, after the on-site testing capability was ramped up to 600 PCR tests per hour. Authorities say that waiting times will be reduced, as test results for travelers will be ready in as little as 60 minutes. Despite the tourism minister’s words, Jakarta has not yet put forward a concrete date for when the reduced quarantines will take effect.

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