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Fancy a Bintan or Batam trip without quarantining on arrival? What you need to know about travelling there from Singapore - and coming back

Those travelling from Singapore are only allowed to visit Nongsa in Batam and Lagoi in Bintan.

Fancy a Bintan or Batam trip without quarantining on arrival? What you need to know about travelling there from Singapore - and coming back

Bintan's Bandar Bentan Telani ferry terminal on November 24, 2020. (Photo: Kiki Siregar)

SINGAPORE: Hotels and businesses in Bintan and Batam have seen a spike in interest from visitors in Singapore since Indonesia's announcement on Monday (Jan 24) that it will start a quarantine-free travel arrangement between Singapore and the two islands.

The current arrangement is for people to only visit Nongsa in Batam and Lagoi in Bintan. Prior to the pandemic, these areas were popular with visitors from Singapore looking for a weekend resort holiday.

The travel bubble is currently also only meant for people from Singapore to visit the two islands, but Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Tuesday that authorities will discuss how the arrangement can be made "bi-directional"

If you are planning for a weekend visit to these two places, here is what you need to know: 

WHERE IN BINTAN AND BATAM CAN YOU GO? 

Currently, travellers from Singapore are only allowed to visit Nongsa in Batam and Lagoi in Bintan, and are not allowed to leave for other places. 

Under the travel corridor, travellers must enter Batam through the Nongsapura International Ferry Terminal to visit Nongsa. Similarly, they can only enter Bintan through the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal to visit Lagoi. 

WHAT ARE THE ENTRY REQUIREMENTS? 

Travellers from Singapore who enter Batam and Bintan are required to be fully vaccinated and test polymerase chain reaction (PCR) negative 72 hours prior to departure and again upon arrival.

They must present a physical and digital card or certificate which shows that they have received a complete dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before departure, according to Indonesia's Ministry of Tourism. 

The card or certificate must be in English, "aside from the national language or the language of the origins of departure", said the tourism ministry. 

The vaccine cards or certificates must also be verified on the official website of Indonesia's Ministry of Health or on e-HAC International Indonesia, the country's health travel card. 

Excluding travellers with Singapore citizenship, those entering Bintan and Batam must have a tourist visa or other entry permits "according to the regulations applied". 

They must also present booking confirmation and payment of travel bubble travel packages in the Lagoi Bintan Resort or Nongsa Sensation area, said the tourism ministry. 

Travellers are also required to have health insurance with a minimum coverage value of S$30,000, which includes the "financing of COVID-19 handling and medical evacuation towards a referral hospital". 

UPON ARRIVAL IN BINTAN AND BATAM

Travellers must use the Indonesian COVID-19 tracing apps - PeduliLindungi and Bluepass - during their activities in the travel area. 

They are also required to have their body temperature checked, as well as take an on-arrival PCR test when they enter Bintan and Batam. 

Travellers will only be allowed to continue with their journey only if their on-arrival PCR test is negative. 

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR ON-ARRIVAL PCR TEST IS POSITIVE?

For travellers whose on-arrival PCR test is positive for COVID-19, they will be required to seek treatment instead. 

Those who test positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic or displaying mild symptoms will be isolated or treated in a "place of insulation accommodation" that is separate from the travel bubble area, said the Indonesian tourism ministry. 

Those with moderate or severe symptoms must undergo quarantine or treatment at a hospital, or undergo medical evacuation "towards a referral hospital in accordance with the procedure set by the related referral hospital," the ministry added. 

The cost will be "entirely self-funded" for foreign nationals. Indonesian citizens will have their costs borne by the government. 

If you test positive during your trip in Bintan and Batam, the same requirements apply. 

WHAT ARE THE COVID-19 RULES YOU MUST OBSERVE DURING YOUR TRIP? 

All international travellers in Batam and Bintan are only allowed to interact with other tourists or parties within one travel bubble area. 

They are also only allowed to carry out activities in the "predetermined zone" according to the itinerary set. 

Travellers are required to report to health workers within the travel bubble area should they experience any COVID-19 symptoms, where they will be required to take a PCR test. 

They must also comply with Indonesia's contact tracing and quarantine rules if a positive COVID-19 case is found in the relevant travel bubble area. 

Other health protocols include wearing a three-layer fabric or medical mask, changing their masks regularly every four hours, washing their hands regularly, keeping a safe distance of 1.5m from others, avoiding crowds, as well as using the PeduliLindungi tracing app. 

HOW DO YOU RETURN TO SINGAPORE?

The Bintan and Batam travel arrangement is currently only meant for people from Singapore to visit the two islands, but Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Tuesday that authorities will discuss how the arrangement can be made "bi-directional"

This means that those who do decide to visit Bintan or Batam from Singapore will have to adhere to current COVID-19 border measures when they return from their trip.

Currently, there is only a vaccinated travel lane (air) option for those entering Singapore from Indonesia. Fully-vaccinated people have been allowed to enter Singapore from Jakarta via Changi Airport since Nov 29.

According to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) SafeTravel website, there are no applicable SafeTravel Lanes for those entering Singapore from Indonesia. 

As Indonesia is classified as a Category II country, all non-VTL travellers from Indonesia are required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test within two days before departing for Singapore. 

Under current guidelines, they are also required to serve a seven-day stay-home notice at their place of residence or a self-sourced accommodation, and take a PCR test at the end of their stay-home notice period.

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Source: CNA/lk(aj)

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