Jakarta. The government has decided to drop the antigen and polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test requirement for domestic travels as the country's latest Covid-19 wave receded, a senior minister said on Monday.
Under the new policy, people who have received a full dose of vaccine against Covid-19 would no longer need to show a negative antigen or PCR test results before travel, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said.
"In the context of transitioning to normal activities, today the government will implement various policies. First, domestic travelers using air, sea, or land transportation who have received the second or complete dose of vaccination are no longer required to show negative antigen or PCR test results," Luhut said. He added that the government would soon issue circulars to make the change official.
The second policy involves sports events, Luhut said. All sports events will be allowed to have spectators who had received booster vaccine dose and use PeduliLindungi, a government-issued mobile application for Covid-19 tracking and monitoring. The number of spectators in the sports event would depend on the community-level restrictions (PPKM) status of the region where the event was held, Luhut said.
A sports event in a region with PPKM level 4—the most severe one—must cap the number of spectators to 25 percent of the venue's capacity. "For level 3, it is 50 percent, level 2 is 75 percent, and level 1 is 100 percent," Luhut said.
The most populous country in Southeast Asia saw a rising number of cases last month, driven by the highly contagious variant Omicron, which pushed the number of new cases as high as 64,700 a day, or higher than the previous Delta's peak.
Still, death tolls did not exceed 400 per day during the current Omicron wave, unlike Delta last year, as close to 92 percent of the country's 208 million target population have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 71 percent have received the complete doses.
Today, the daily cases hover at around 29,000 a day, dropping 39 percent from 48,666 a day last week. The number of active Covid-19 cases in the country has also fallen to around 448,000 on Monday, 23 percent lower than Omicron's peak at 580,000.
The government's latest policy comes just ahead of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, a period during which a majority of the population tends to make travel from urban centers to their hometown to celebrate the holy month and the subsequent Idul Fitri with their extended family.
Also, the country will host the motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) in Mandalika in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, on March 18-20. It is the country's first MotoGP race since 1997. The government has put high hope on the event to reinvigorate interest among international tourists to come to Indonesia post-pandemic.
The race is expected to draw around 63.000 spectators from around the country and abroad. State-controlled flag carrier Garuda Indonesia said many spectators would need to fly into Lombok on the race day, as the island lacks hotel rooms. For them, no test requirement means one less hassle.