Jakarta. The government will allow limited types of travel between Covid-19 red zones across the archipelago starting Wednesday, allowing airlines, buses, trains and ferries to resume some of their services, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said on Tuesday.
A circular from the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) issued on Tuesday said travels for family emergencies, repatriations of foreign citizens out of Indonesia and repatriations of Indonesian citizens from overseas will be allowed during the pandemic.
Business trips related to the government's handling of the pandemic, logistics flights and travels for "important economic functions" would also be excluded from the current travel ban.
According to the circular, business travelers must first clear a Covid-19 test, produce an assignment letter from their superior and submit a travel itinerary that includes a date of return to the National Covid-19 Task Force.
The task force will deploy officers at ports, bus and train stations, airports and highway checkpoints to enforce the rules, the circular said.
People traveling for family emergencies must adhere to similar rules. For medical emergencies, a referral letter from a medical facility must be produced. In cases of family deaths, a death certificate must be shown to officers at every checkpoint when traveling by road.
Planes, trains, buses and ferries have been idle for some time after the government issued a mudik ban to prevent people from leaving Indonesia's urban centers.
Earlier, only government officials involved in handling the pandemic, state envoys, logistical officers and people carrying special permits are allowed to travel to and from Covid-19 red zones such as the capital Jakarta.
"Airlines can resume operations tomorrow to carry people who meet the criteria for limited travels. But no one is allowed to use [this loophole] for mudik," Budi Karya told the House of Representatives' Commission V, which oversees transportation and infrastructure, in a meeting on Tuesday.
Budi Karya, who officially resumed his post today after surviving Covid-19, said the Transportation Ministry wants people who need to travel urgently to be able to make their trips.
The minister said all transportation operators must comply with the strict health protocols issued by the Covid-19 Task Force.
This includes maintaining a safe physical distance between passengers, wearing a mask and disinfecting the vehicles, ships and planes regularly.
Earlier, the government had banned all commercial passenger flights from Indonesian air space until June 1 to try to limit the spread of Covid-19.
The ban was issued after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo officially banned mudik, the annual Idul Fitri exodus, to stop people from leaving urban centers and spreading Covid-19 in small towns and villages.