Women wearing face masks stand as they queue for a public bus amid the spread of COVID-19 in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday. Reuters
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Indonesians are advised to limit travel as they who are travelling are requested to book home-bound flights soonest to obviate inconvenience arising from restrictions imposed by governments to contain Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
Overseas Indonesians are at eight million with 77,000 in the UAE as of Jan. 2020. The world’s largest archipelago is home to over 270 million.
The instructions — among a 16-point directive — forwarded to Gulf Today on Tuesday evening by the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Dubai, were from Jakarta’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
These shall take effect from March 20 (Friday) and shall be reviewed periodically.
It was on Mar.5 when Jakarta’s MoFA issued its first precautionary travel guidelines to Indonesia for all its citizens and other nationalities, three months after the novel pneumonia/SARS-like COVID-19 was traced and detected from an illegal wild animals market in Wuhan, Hubei, China by the end of Dec.2019.
This second MoFA travel advisory maintains denial of entry of and controls to non-Indonesians originating or transiting from China; South Korea, particularly Daegu City and Gyeongsangbuk-do Province; Iran and Italy.
Added to the list are the “visitors/travellers who have travelled to Vatican City, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland and the UK (also) in the last 14 days.”
As for returning Indonesians from these 10 countries, the Port Health Authority stationed at all Indonesian airports shall subject them to additional screenings.
They shall be confined in government health facility for the mandatory “14-day observation if diagnosed with COVID-19 symptoms namely runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever.
The instructions for the Indonesians are as follows:
• Given the increasing number of countries affected by COVID-19, the government advises all Indonesian citizens to restrict non-essential outbound travels.
• For Indonesian citizens currently travelling abroad, it is advised to return to Indonesia at the earliest possible time to avoid further travel disruptions.
• A number of countries have enacted policies to restrict the movement of persons. All Indonesian citizens are requested to monitor closely information available through the Safe Travel Application or contact the hotline of the nearest Indonesian Mission.
The hotlines for the consular mission in Dubai are +971564170333 and +971563322611. The hotline for the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Abu Dhabi is +971566156259.
On Wednesday, Consul Yunita Purwaningyas said: “I would like to re-affirm on (instruction) number three. It is only for Indonesians who are now travelling abroad. They are advised to return home immediately, to avoid the possibility for them to get stranded in a particular country, considering the global lockdown applied to several countries recently.”
Other travel regulations to foreigners and visitors are:
• The Indonesian government has suspended the visa exemption policy for short-stay visit, visa-on-arrival and diplomatic service visa-free facilities for all countries, for a period of one month.
• Those who wish to visit Indonesia must obtain a visa from Indonesian missions in accordance with the purpose of their visit. With their application is an official health certificate issued by relevant health authorities from their respective countries.
• The extension of Residence Permit for holders of Temporary Stay Permit Card (KITAS)/Permanent Stay Permit Card (KITAP) and holders of Diplomatic Visa and Service Visa who are currently overseas and will expire, shall be conducted in accordance with the regulation of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights No. 7 of 2020.
• The extension of Short Visit Pass for foreign travelers who are currently in Indonesia and have expired, shall be conducted in accordance with the regulation of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights No. 7 of 2020.
As of 8:16 GMT on Mar. 18 (Wednesday), Indonesia had registered 227 COVID-19 cases with 211 currently infected people, seven deaths and nine recovered/discharged.
As of 8:16 GMT on Mar. 18, affected countries were at 168 for a total of 199,180 cases, 82,782 recovered/discharged, and 7,993 deaths.
The new procedure implemented "until further notice" is part of the "temporary adjustments" the consular mission has come up with relative to Coronavirus 2019.
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