Jakarta. The government has decided to reduce the quarantine period for overseas travelers to three days from five days for those who had received their booster vaccine doses against Covid-19, starting next month, a top official said on Monday.
The Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said that despite the recent spikes of Covid-19 spread in Indonesia driven by the omicron variant, the overall pandemic handling improved.
"Going forward, if the situation continues improving and vaccinations continue to increase, the government plan to cut the quarantine period to three days on March 1, or even sooner," Luhut said in a virtual press conference.
The decision was part of a more significant move by the government to ease restrictions in the major metropolitan areas across Indonesia as it projected the third wave of Covid-19 would peak this week.
Luhut said the government decided to allow offices in Java and Bali to operate at 50 percent of capacity from 25 percent last week. In addition, the arts, cultural and social activities in public facilities and tourism destinations can also operate at 50 percent of the maximum capacity.
"That way, roadside vendors, ranging from fried food vendors, meatball vendors to art workers, such as wayang performers and drama actors can continue to carry out their activities and do not need to lose their jobs due to the government policy," Luhut said.
Indonesia reported 36,501 new cases on Monday, down from 55,209 new cases a day earlier, which was the second-highest tally during the pandemic. Still, the most populous country in Southeast Asia reported 145 deaths, the highest toll since last September.
Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin said he believed the peak daily death toll during the current Omicron wave would not exceed the Delta's wave last July. Indonesia saw 2,069 deaths from Covid-19 in a day at the peak of the previous wave.
"There is an increase [in the death toll in the past few days]. Based on our experience, the death number lags about two weeks behind the new cases figure," Budi said.
"But, I think the death toll won't reach 500 or 1,000 in a day now. That's just improbable," he said.
The minister also said there were signs that the Covid-19 spread in Jakarta, Banten, West Java, and Bali, the four provinces that currently have the most Covid-19 cases, had been slowing down.
"[The number of new cases in] Jakarta most likely would move past its peak this week and begin to decline. The hospital occupancy ratio there is also low, about 40-50 percent below that of during Delta," Budi said.