June 29, 2020, 09.32 PM

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – As the country enters the new normal, the Indonesian government has released plenty of measures to keep the coronavirus crisis under control, including requiring citizens to comply with health protocols when returning home from overseas.

It is crucial that people abide by these protocols at a time when the government is easing large scale social restrictions measures. These are designed to lead people back to their daily grind and help businesses to resume operations, which can be costly without earnest efforts on the part of the public to toe the line. 

Already in place is the circular issued by the Ministry of Transportation requiring travelers by land, sea, and air within Indonesia to comply with health protocols. The circular also covers travelers coming into the country.

The protocols include the basics of wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing hands properly. The government through the Covid-19 task force teams across the country has been actively going the rounds to raise public awareness.

Going by the number of people you see in public not wearing a mask, more work obviously needs to be done.

Also read: The Sydney Morning Herald Claims Indonesia Could Be the Worlds Next Coronavirus Hotspot

The easing of restrictions comes with its own set of concerns that people have to contend with to be able to fully benefit from the new normal. New rules have been created.

You don't just go out anytime because you feel like it. To use public transport including the trains from one province to another, there's at least a couple of documents you need to have. One is your identification card and the other your health certificate stating you are free from Covid-19 and any influenza-like illness - the latter you obtain after taking a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or rapid tests.

And not to forget the Peduli Lindungi surveillance app that you have to activate on your cellular phone. The app is to help with tracing and tracking in the event of an outbreak.

Inbound travelers are not spared some of the new requirements. They need proof they are Covid-19 negative or they must undergo a PCR test upon arrival in Indonesian entry ports.

Concern over expensive PCR test

You pay the price for regaining the freedom to travel.

People have raised concerns about the price of the PCR test, which is more expensive than a  train ticket or airfare. People are beginning to make noise about this on social media.

Also read: Foreign Minister: 114,587 Indonesians Returned Home amid Coronavirus Pandemic

A spokesperson for Sebelas Maret University (UNS) Hospital Covid-19 Task Force, Dr. Tonang Dwi Ardyanto, said: “The factors that make PCR tests expensive are extraction and the PCR itself, reagents are expensive, tools are expensive, must be done in a laboratory with a minimum of Biosafety Level 2 standards, manpower must be trained and it’s high-risk work.”

Therefore, he said, it costs about 400,000 rupiahs ($28) to a few million rupiahs.

With more people taking up traveling again within the country, it is important to ensure that everyone abides by health protocols, including undergoing rapid tests to slow the spread of  coronavirus. When restrictions are lifted, we ought to do our part in making the new normal work for us.

As they say, freedom comes with responsibility.

Source: kompas.com

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