Domestic travelers arrive at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali on Dec 18. (Antara Photo/Fikri Yusuf)

Gov't Bars Travelers From UK, Keeps Close Eye on Coronavirus Mutation


DECEMBER 24, 2020

Jakarta. The government has barred foreigners traveling from the United Kingdom from entering Indonesia after the discovery of a novel coronavirus strain that is easier to transmit between people early this month. 

Scientists first identified the British B117 strain in South Wales and suspected it carries a genetic mutation that is 40 to 70 percent more easily transmitted than the previous strains. 

The genetic mutations prompted the UK travel ban or restrictions in at least 52 countries, including China, Denmark, France, Germany, and the United States. Indonesia became the latest to do so.  

"Foreigners traveling from the UK who enter Indonesia, either directly or transiting in the country, cannot enter Indonesia," the Covid-19 Handling Task Force wrote in a circular. 

Indonesian citizens returning from the UK could still enter the archipelago as long as they tested negative on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 48 hours before their arrival. They would also subject to a medical examination at the government's appointed clinics upon their arrival, the Task Force said.  

The Task Force also imposes the same restrictions on travelers from Europe and Australia, as both continents saw the Covid-19 second wave of Covid-19 cases. 

The Task Force said the travel ban and restriction would stand until Jan 8, 2021. But it may be extended based on the development on the ground.  

“The government will strengthen surveillance by constantly monitoring the virus's development, which extremely dynamic,” Wiku Adisasmito, the ask force spokesperson, said. 

Indonesia has seen a total of 692,838 cases by Wednesday and reported 20,589 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus. The archipelago has seen its daily new cases and active cases accelerate in the past month, with December proved to be its deadliest month during this pandemic.