Bali, Batam and Bintan to open to some foreign visitors

INDONESIA is gearing up to reopen Bali and the Riau Islands to foreign visitors from select countries this week in a bid to revive its tourism industry.

Senior minister Luhut Pandjaitan told a media briefing on Monday that visitors from 18 countries would be allowed in, and that Singapore was not among the approved countries on the list.

Airports in Bali and Riau Islands – where popular tourist islands Batam and Bintan are located – are slated to reopen tomorrow. Both provinces have among the highest vaccination coverage in Indonesia.

About 98% of Bali’s 4.4 million population have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while more than 80% have been fully inoculated. In the Riau Islands, 83% of the population have received their first shot, while 58% are fully inoculated.

Indonesia, which is the worst hit by the pandemic in South-east Asia with over four million cases and more than 140,000 deaths, has said it would reopen the country cautiously and take precautions to prevent another wave of infections.

Luhut said only visitors from countries with lower levels of transmissions and a positivity rate of 5% or below could enter Indonesia.

The positivity rate refers to the percentage of people who test positive for the virus from those who have been tested.

These visitors will still need to serve quarantine on arrival, but for a shortened period of five days, said Coordinating Economic Affairs Minister Airlangga Hartarto at the same media briefing.

Previously, foreign arrivals had to quarantine for eight days.

They are also required to have valid Covid-19 treatment insurance covering at least US$100,000 (RM417,000) and to pay for their hotel accommodation for the quarantine period in advance.

“The reopening of these places will act as a trial run that later could be replicated in other places in due course,” Airlangga said.

Currently, only foreigners with diplomatic or employment visas are allowed to enter Indonesia via international airports serving capital Jakarta and North Sulawesi.

Others allowed in include medical workers on humanitarian missions and shipping cargo crew.

“The reopening is expected to help Bali, whose economy today is far below the pre-pandemic times, to recover,” Luhut said. — The Straits Times/ANN

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