JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - The Indonesian government has banned flights from India in wake of a severe spike in Covid-19 cases which has caused the death toll close to 200,000 in the South Asian country.
Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Uno said the firm step is taken as part of the efforts to prevent a similar case from occurring in Indonesia.
The decision was made just about a month after both countries had a discussion to launch direct flights between Bali and India following a plan to reopen Bali's tourist attractions in the second semester.
"We know that the situation of Covid-19 cases in India is worrying, therefore the government has taken a firm step to close our borders to foreigners from India. We do this to reduce the risk of infection in Indonesia," Sandiaga said during a weekly press briefing on Tuesday, April 24.
Sandiaga said India's Covid crisis started after a pulled-crowd activity was done in the country previously. The procession had an extraordinary impact and increased the transmission of the coronavirus. The situation to handle the Covid-19 cases is deteriorating because of poor health facilities.
After looking at what's happening in India, the minister stressed the importance of implementing strict health protocols in the tourism sector in Indonesia.
The tour operators are urged to ensure the implementation of the Cleanliness, Health, Safety, and Environment Sustainability standards or CHSE protocols.
"Therefore, to anticipate it, tourist destinations must follow the CHSE protocols, we will help each tourist operator to implement the health protocols," he said.
"In India, the number of tourists was already high before the Covid-19 pandemic. We need a long-term partnership [with India], but we are also taking the short-term plans," he added.
He hoped that by implementing a mass vaccination program to contain the spread of Covid-19, the tourism sector will recover soon.
With regards to the tourism cooperation with India, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry will work closely with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Health.
"We will continue to monitor the situation in India, including the progress of the travel corridor arrangement with India which will be done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health, and the National Covid-19 Task Force," he said.
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