In a Limited Cabinet meeting on 28 December, the Indonesian government decided to prohibit foreign nationals from entering Indonesia from 1-14 January 2021. Exceptions were made for officials at the ministerial level and above, diplomatic visa holders and several other permit holders while still strictly implementing Covid-19 health protocols.
The emergence of a new mutated variant of the coronavirus, which is named VUI-202012/01 and has a very fast transmission rate, is the reason for the government to pass the prohibition policy.
The virus, originally identified in southeastern England, is spreading faster than the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. This new variant of Covid-19 has also been found in several other countries.
This condition has certainly hit the tourism sector again. Although during the pandemic, foreign tourist visits did decline sharply. Even in some areas no one visited. According to the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, the government is currently focusing on domestic tourist visits, especially in the creative economy sector of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. At least, this step makes the tourism sector breathe a little again. The reforms that will be carried out from now on will certainly be of great potential when tourism is fully opened.
Chairman of the Association of Bali Travel Agents, Putu Winastra even said that the 14 days tightening of foreign citizens entering Indonesia would have a positive effect on Balinese society. Until now, international flights to Bali have not opened yet. This ban will be an opportunity to sterilize the Island of the Gods from Covid-19 transmission.
The government's policy of prohibiting entry to foreign nationals for 14 days is indeed correct in anticipating and minimizing the transmission of the new variant of Covid-19 which has currently entered several European and African countries.