Jakarta. Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Indonesia’s largest and busiest airport, has imposed a new health protocol for international and domestic flights on Friday after seeing more than 50 people tested positive for Covid-19 arriving in the past month.
On Thursday alone, the medical team at the airport tested 11 Indonesian cruise ship crewmember coming back from Italy positive for the disease.
“Before that, there were more than 40 people, who were tested positive for Covid-19 using rapid test method from April to May,” said Anas Maruf, the head of the airport’s health office.
Soekarno-Hatta’s health office screened 600 to 1,000 passengers passing the airport every day, through temperature checking, rapid tests, and clinical interviews.
Many passengers arriving at the airport using the chartered flights as many commercial services suspend operation. The 11 Indonesian crewmembers, for example, arrived in Italy’s Neos chartered flight. Anas said the health officials gave priority to testing the passengers arriving on this kind of chartered flight.
Soekarno-Hatta airport is tightening its health surveillance. Anas said that all passengers, both domestic and international, must submit a health certificate from a health facility stating that they are free of Covid-19, before flying.
"For international flights, starting today, a new health protocol applies. It’s the same for domestic flights. One of the requirements is the health certificate from a health facility. If they don't have it, they don't fly," Anas said.
Anas said the airport medical officers escorted all the patients to the quarantine center in Kemayoran Athlete Village in Central Jakarta.
Soekarno-Hatta airport’s decision came a day after the government relaxed its ban on domestic flights, first put in place on April 24. Now, people who can prove that they are not infectious can catch flights for a limited business, emergencies, or repatriation purposes.
Previously only the government only allowed state envoys, cargos, and Covid-19 mitigation-related flights.
Soekarno-Hatta airport saw 1.2 million domestic flight passengers in March, down 21 percent from February, according to the latest available data from the Central Statistics Agency.
The international flights brought in close to 188,000 passengers in the month, down 58 percent from a month earlier.
Soekarno-Hatta airport said that it had handled more than 15,000 Indonesian repatriations from abroad, through the airport in the past month.