JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia is set to extend its ban on foreigners entering the country, as the number of Covid-19 cases more than doubled at the end of last year from 54 thousand in November 2020 to 110 thousand last December.
Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto announced that “President Joko Widodo has approved the extension of the ban on foreigners entering Indonesia,” he said in a press statement at the Presidential Office in Jakarta on Monday, January 11, 2021.
Speaking in his capacity as head of the National Economic Recovery and Covid-19 Response Team, Airlangga added that “the present ban, which lasts from January 1 to January 14, will be extended by two weeks to January 28.”
Indonesia initiated the ban at the beginning of 2021 to safeguard the country’s borders, following the discovery of a new variant of the Covid-19 pandemic in Great Britain, which researchers at the country’s University of Birmingham noted has a 70 percent transmission rate.
The Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is feeling the pinch from the entry ban on foreigners, due to its standing as the main port of call for foreigners coming and going from Indonesia.
“The number of international passengers has drastically fallen since [the ban on foreign nationals] has gone into effect on January 1,” Indonesian Air Force colonel LA Siladan, who heads the Covid-19 Aerial Task Force, said in a written statement.
“7,785 passengers, 3,132 of whom are foreigners, passed through Soekarno-Hatta International Airport between December 28 to December 31 2020. On the other hand, 3,114 people, 380 of whom are foreigners, went through the airport.”
Siladan added that a number of foreign nationals were exempt from the ban. They include diplomats and officials with diplomatic or service visas, ministerial-level foreign dignitaries onwards, as well as foreigners with permits to reside in Indonesia.