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Riau Islands government proposes travel corridor with Singapore starting May or June: Senior Indonesian official

Riau Islands government proposes travel corridor with Singapore starting May or June: Senior Indonesian official

Banyan Tree Bintan's private beach. (Photo: Kiki Siregar)

JAKARTA: The government of Riau Islands province has proposed a safe travel corridor with Singapore starting on May 1 or Jun 1, said a senior Indonesian tourism official on Tuesday (Apr 13). 

In a press release, Mdm R Kurleni Ukar, who is the deputy for strategic policy at the tourism ministry, said there are periodic efforts to monitor plans for safe travel corridor arrangements in Bintan, Batam and Bali.

She noted that the governor of Riau Islands province has prepared several dates to restart travel between Bintan Lagoi to Singapore.

"The Governor of Riau Islands has suggested implementing the Travel Corridor Arrangement for the Bintan Lagoi area starting Apr 21, 2021. However, it is still considering whether vaccination can be accomplished, (whether) COVID-19 is under control, and the response of the Singapore government," she said.

"They prepared several scenarios, namely (to reopen) on Apr 21, then May 1, or on Jun 1, 2021," she added.

Last month, tourism and creative economy minister Sandiaga Uno said that preparations can begin for a “safe travel corridor” between Singapore, Batam Nongsa and Bintan Lagoi.

He suggested that the travel corridor can begin on Apr 21. Bintan Lagoi and Batam Nongsa are in the Riau Islands province.

READ: Singapore-Batam-Bintan 'travel corridor' meant for Singapore tourists only, says Indonesian minister

When Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan visited Jakarta late last month, he said that both countries should ideally have the “same level of control” over COVID-19 transmissions before travel arrangements can resume. 

"I would like to reiterate the point that we need the COVID-19 situation to improve significantly. Ideally for them to achieve the same level of control as we have currently in Singapore, which means every day we have between zero and one community case locally," said Dr Balakrishnan. 

He noted that travel amid the pandemic cannot be like the days prior to COVID-19, until the situation normalises and equalises across the different destinations.

The minister also emphasised the need for testing, vaccination, and the ability to share verifiable and authoritative records, in order to enable cross-border travel.

Dr Balakrishnan also pointed out that the resumption of travel must be done in a gradual, safe and cautious manner. 

As of Tuesday, Indonesia has reported about 1.5 million COVID-19 cases while Singapore has about 60,000 cases.

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Source: CNA/ks


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