Indonesia ends quarantine requirement for foreign travelers

Indonesia ends quarantine requirement for foreign travelers

Travelers walk through the international arrivals hall at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Tuban near Denpasar on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on February 16, 2022, after a Singapore Airlines flight arrived after a break of nearly two years due to Covid-19. (AFP file photo)

Indonesia lifts all quarantine rules for international travelers to end two years of border closures, following neighbors in easing restrictions as Southeast Asia weathers worst of Omicron wave .

The government will expand quarantine-free travel to the rest of the country, while still requiring a negative Covid-19 test result, Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno said in his weekly briefing on Monday. The reopening comes after a successful two-week trial of quarantine-free travel to the islands of Bali, Batam and Bintan, where the spread of the virus has remained low, he added.

Southeast Asia’s biggest economy has steadily reduced its remaining virus restrictions, most recently allowing domestic travelers to board flights without having to present negative test results. Daily coronavirus cases have fallen more than 90% from the peak in mid-February, even as deaths remain high, reaching 139 people on Sunday.

The reopening of the border is expected to boost Indonesia’s role as host of the G20 summit this year. The country aims to use the flurry of meetings between officials from the world’s largest economies to help boost tourism revenue in Bali and neighboring islands.

Neighbors Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines have already announced they are waiving quarantine rules for international travellers, while Thailand and Cambodia have eased testing requirements to bolster tourism. The industry accounted for 12.1% of Southeast Asia’s economic output and employed 42 million workers in 2019, according to the Asian Development Bank.

More and more places are relaxing their Covid policies even when cases remain high. Hong Kong is lifting a travel ban on several countries and halving mandatory quarantine as chief executive Carrie Lam has acknowledged residents’ tolerance for restrictions is fading.

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