Indonesia tightens air travel curbs to brace itself for holiday season

Only vaccinated people who can produce a negative PCR test result are allowed to fly.
Only vaccinated people who can produce a negative PCR test result are allowed to fly.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) - Indonesia is tightening air travel measures to ensure an anticipated jump in the number of passengers ahead of year-end holidays won't lead to a resurgence in coronavirus infections.

Airlines must allocate dedicated seats for any passengers who show symptoms during the flight, even when they have tested negative for the virus before departure, according to Covid-19 task force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito.

Only vaccinated people who can produce a negative PCR test result are allowed to fly, particularly in Java and Bali areas, he said in a briefing on Thursday (Oct 21).

Previously, those who are fully inoculated need only a negative rapid antigen test in lieu of a PCR one.

Indonesia has started reopening its international borders as cases and deaths from Covid-19 fell to their lowest since the middle of last year. The country has loosened much of its pandemic restrictions to revive the economy.

Indonesia also reopened Bali and the Riau Islands to foreign visitors from 19 countries last week in a bid to revive its tourism industry.

Bali and the Riau Islands have among the highest vaccination coverage in Indonesia and, even with the reopening, visitors will still need to serve quarantine on arrival, but for a shortened period of five days.

Previously only foreigners with diplomatic or employment visas were allowed to enter Indonesia by air at two points in Jakarta and North Sulawesi.