In addition to Bali, foreign travellers can now enter Indonesia’s Bintan and Batam without quarantine
Indonesia will need to discuss with Singapore regarding how these new protocols could be synchronised with existing VTL procedures, says the tourism chief of the Riau Islands.
JAKARTA: Foreign travellers can now enter the Indonesian islands of Bintan and Batam without quarantine, in addition to Bali.
According to an Indonesia COVID-19 task force circular issued on Tuesday (Mar 8), travellers from abroad can enter via Batam’s Hang Nadim Airport, Batam Port, Raja Haji Fisabilillah Airport in Tanjung Pinang, Bintan Port and Tanjung Pinang Port.
Among the task force’s duties include regulating travel health protocols amid the pandemic.
To be eligible, travellers must be fully vaccinated and show a negative Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test taken 48 hours before departure, the circular wrote.
Foreign travellers must also have a valid visa and show payment of a tourism package or hotel in Batam or Bintan. They also need to have health insurance which covers COVID-19 treatment worth S$20,000.
Upon arrival, tourists will need to undergo an RT-PCR test and have a negative result.
During their stay, they must also use Indonesia’s COVID-19 tracing app PeduliLindungi.
Travellers have to take a swab test again on the third day and if it is negative, they may proceed to visit other parts of Indonesia the next day.
However, they will need to adhere to health protocols such as wearing a mask that has at least three layers, keeping a 1.5m distance from other people and washing their hands periodically, the Tuesday circular also wrote.
When asked by CNA if the travel bubble between Singapore, Nongsa Batam and Bintan Lagoi would continue to be in force, Mr Hery Trianto, the head of public communication of the COVID-19 task force said that the existing vaccinated travel lane (VTL) protocols will be replaced by what is stipulated in the latest circular.
Riau Islands’ tourism chief Buralimar, who goes by one name, also confirmed with CNA that the procedures as outlined in the latest circular will supersede existing VTL protocols.
“The central government's intention is correct, but perhaps the technicalities need to be synchronised,” said Mr Buralimar.
“Perhaps we also need to tell Singapore about the latest regulation … so the VTL can be synchronised.”
On Jan 24, Indonesia said that it will allow travellers from Singapore to travel under a travel bubble to Nongsapura International Ferry Terminal (NIFT) in Batam and Bandar Bintan Telani Ferry Terminal (BBTFT) in Bintan, without the need for quarantine.
Subsequently, Singapore announced on Feb 25 that it will launch VTL arrangements via sea with Batam and Bintan, as part of efforts to gradually restore transport connectivity.
The new regulation by the task force comes as Indonesia is starting to loosen its travel health protocols amid declining COVID-19 cases.
On Monday, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan announced that travellers from abroad can enter Bali quarantine-free starting from the same day.
He added at that time: “If this trial is successful, we will implement quarantine-free travel for all arrivals from abroad arriving in the country as of April 1, 2022, or even sooner.”
Also from Monday, tourists from 23 countries entering Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport can obtain a visa on arrival instead of needing to apply for a visa pre-departure.
Responding to CNA’s queries, Mr Achmad Nur Saleh, a coordinator of public relations with the directorate general of immigration said that as of Wednesday, travellers to Batam and Bintan will still need to apply for a visa prior to their departure.
In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Novie Riyanto, director general of air transport with the transport ministry, said: "With the implementation of no quarantine for Bali, Batam and Bintan, it is hoped that gradually and continuously, it can support the revival of tourism and become a momentum to revive the aviation industry in the country."
As of Wednesday, Indonesia reported 26,336 new COVID-19 cases and 304 deaths among its 270 million population. It recorded its highest daily caseload last month with over 57,000 cases.