Indonesia to let those who took Covid-19 vaccine overseas verify records for local use

Individuals seeking to get their records verified must first undergo a serology test at a designated clinic.
Individuals seeking to get their records verified must first undergo a serology test at a designated clinic.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA - Foreigners and Indonesians who had Covid-19 shots overseas may soon get their records verified at clinics appointed by the health ministry so that they can be used in Indonesia.

The country requires long-distance domestic travellers - by air, sea and land - to have been vaccinated.

The Straits Times understands that individuals seeking to get their records verified must first undergo a serology test at a designated clinic to detect the presence of Covid-19 antibodies before uploading their overseas vaccine cards and punching in their passport number on the PeduliLindungi tracing app, the Indonesian equivalent of Singapore's TraceTogether.

"The regulation should be out within this month," a senior government official who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Straits Times on Wednesday (Aug 18).

The world's largest archipelagic nation, with more than 17,000 islands, is boosting its vaccination drive, and since last week has been on the global top 10 list for the total number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered, according to the Our World in Data website. China, the United States, Britain and Japan are also on the list.

Entering shopping malls in Jakarta and other major cities, including Surabaya and Bandung, also requires proof that an individual has been vaccinated.

Clinics, including those privately run, that have outlets in areas where many expatriates live, such as Bali, Jakarta, Batam and Surabaya, will be appointed to help provide the services, The Straits Times understands.

Singapore has a similar plan. Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post last week that individuals who received Covid-19 vaccinations overseas can visit clinics designated by the health ministry to verify their records for use in Singapore.

They will have to show their overseas vaccination record and undergo a serology test to detect the presence of Covid-19 antibodies, said Mr Ong.

The record will be uploaded into the individual's HealthHub and TraceTogether apps if the serology test indicates that there are antibodies present.

Indonesia has been imposing stricter Covid-19 restrictions in many parts of the country since July 3, but eased the curbs in Jakarta and several other major cities, including Surabaya (East Java) on Aug 10, allowing shopping malls to reopen with 25 per cent capacity, as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions continued to fall. On Tuesday, the cap on shopping malls' allowed capacity was raised to 50 per cent in these cities.

"Shopping malls have implemented the eased curbs well and the PeduliLindungi (tracing app) shows 1.02 million people checked into malls, while 619 were turned away in the Aug 10-Aug 16 week," Senior Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said in a media briefing on Monday.

Mr Luhut, who has been tasked by President Joko Widodo to coordinate efforts to contain the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus in Java and Bali, where 60 per cent of the country's population live, said weekly evaluations of the developing situation will determine whether Indonesia would further ease or restrict Covid-19 curbs.

Indonesia has so far reported about 3.9 million cases and over 120,000 deaths. On Tuesday, it recorded 20,741 new cases, while another 1,180 people died.