TANGERANG, KOMPAS.com – Immigration officials at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport has revealed that nearly 500 Indian nationals have entered Indonesia in mid-April, as a third wave of Covid-19 cases pushed the country’s sources to breaking point.
“454 Indian citizens have entered Indonesia through Soekarno-Hatta Airport between April 11 to 22,” said Romi Yudianto, the head of the Airport’s Immigration Office.
“Of this number, 244 have admission visas, 69 have Temporary Stay Permit Cards, while 23 of them have Permanent Stay Permit Cards. Another 52 Indian nationals have Temporary Stay Visas, while 66 of them manned heavy equipment.”
Romi cited the figures after the arrival of two flights from the country bringing 244 Indian nationals last Wednesday raised fears among Indonesian politicians and the public that the ‘tsunami’ of Covid-19 cases sweeping India will overwhelm Indonesia next.
“The Indian nationals and others that make up the 117 passengers on Air Asia flight XZ988 from India confirmed that the Covid-19 pandemic there has turned into a serious health crisis. The Covid-19 strain plaguing the country is of the B.1617 strain that can quickly mutate,” he noted.
Romi asserted that another 132 Indian citizens arrived on flight QZ9BB, a chartered flights from the MMA airline.
“I can assure that officials [in Soekarno Hatta Airport] is tightly monitoring their arrival, and have applied PCR tests to them. They also have temporary and permanent residency permits to enter and live in Indonesia.”
“The [Indian citizens] tested positive after [Indonesian health officials] carried out whole genome sequencing to determine the Covid-19 variant that they are carrying,” he said.
The Indonesian government will bar foreign travelers who have been in India over the past 14 days from entering Indonesia, after a recent surge of Covid-19 cases in the country saw more than 300 thousand people contract the virus on a daily basis.
Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, who doubles as chairman of Indonesia’s Covid-19 Mitigation and National Economic Recovery (KPC-PEN) Committee, noted that the ban will apply from 25 April.
“This policy will be temporary and will be subject to review,” he said. “Indonesian citizens who have been to India will be subject to tighter quarantines than usual. These include 14 day quarantines in hotels that are separate to those returning from other countries.”
India officially has more than 14 million Covid-19 cases. 184 thousand Indians have died of the coronavirus since it was first detected last year.