The Health Ministry has revealed that many people who have been arriving in Indonesia have been confirmed to be COVID-19 positive, despite of previously carrying negative COVID-19 letters.
For example, for the period 1-31st August, 4.5 percent of 36,722 people, or more than 1,600 people, tested positive for COVID-19.
While for the period of 1-6th September, a total of 2 percent of the 7,179 people tested positive, with most arriving from Saudi Arabia. Not only that, many travellers from abroad have not been vaccinated.
“It is also known that 65 percent of these foreign travellers have not received vaccinations when they enter, especially in the province of Jakarta,” explained Director of Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi on Friday 10th September.
“The government urges people who enter Indonesia from abroad, both foreigners and Indonesian citizens, to be vaccinated first in their country of origin,” continued Dr. Nadia.
Since 1st August under circular letter 18 from the COVID-19 handling task force, Indonesians and foreigners with a KITAS or KITAP have been able to enter Indonesia without a vaccine. However, the circular advises that anyone arriving without a vaccine will need a jab before leaving quarantine.
In a report from the Health Ministry for the period of August, the international arrivals with the highest percentage who have not been vaccinated come from the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, and Malaysia.
The Health Ministry explained that if incoming travellers are vaccinated before arriving in Indonesia, it can help prevent the entry of new variants of COVID-19 that have the potential to have faster transmission.
“Regarding the confirmation of COVID-19 positive cases from overseas travellers, sequencing is carried out to anticipate the entry of the COVID-19 variant, including the Mu variant, which we currently know is a new variant,” she concluded.
Dr. Nadia also confirmed that Indonesia has not yet found the Mu variant from a total of 5,000 whole genome sequencing samples.