Gov’t to Tighten Quarantine Rules after Omicron Patient Flees
Jakarta. The government will introduce stricter quarantine rules related to international travel after an Omicron-infected patient escaped from the mandatory isolation, a senior official said on Monday.
All travelers arriving from overseas trips are subject to the mandatory 10-day quarantine and stricter procedures will be implemented for those seeking to be exempt from the obligation, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan told a press conference in Jakarta.
Indonesia’s Omicron tally as of Sunday stands at 46 confirmed cases, of which most come from international travelers. Indonesia is isolating its Omicron cases at the makeshift hospital Wisma Atlet in Central Jakarta and at the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Disease Hospital.
Luhut said one of the patients has fled from the facility but he declined to disclose the patient’s identity.
“One person escaped [from quarantine] and left with family members. I hope this does not happen again,” Luhut said.
Any request for quarantine dispensation can only be issued for urgent matters, according to Luhut.
“Dispensation requests must be coupled with strong reasons like doctor recommendation, health, and other urgent matters. But there is a procedure that must be followed,” he said.
Jakarta has been receiving thousands of international travelers since the government reopened borders and appointed only two airports in neighboring Tangerang and North Sulawesi’s Manado to receive international arrivals in September.
The mandatory 10-day quarantine was imposed as an additional border measure to reduce the risk of the importation of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
“Once we put everyone and impose a lockdown in Wisma Atlet, we do not see an increase [in Omicron cases],” Luhut said.
However, the government cannot confirm if the Omicron variant has spread to other regions.
He said the government plans to open Juanda International Airport in the East Java capital of Surabaya to international arrivals to ease the burden in Jakarta.
“We must add another entry point because if the number of arrivals in Jakarta alone reaches 6,000 the quarantine facility will be congested,” Luhut said.