Indonesia extends ban on foreign visitors for 2 more weeks over COVID-19 concerns

Indonesia extends ban on foreign visitors for 2 more weeks over COVID-19 concerns

Passengers stand in a line to have their temperature and oxygen level checked before boarding fligh
Passengers stand in a line to have their temperature and oxygen level checked before boarding flights at Soekarno Hatta Airport amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Jakarta, Indonesia on May 21, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

JAKARTA: Indonesia has extended its ban on foreign arrivals for another 14 days in a bid to control the transmission of the coronavirus, its chief economic minister said on Monday (Jan 11).

The government has said the reason for the stricter measures against international visitors, which were imposed on Jan 1, was to try to keep out the new COVID-19 variant first detected in Britain.

Indonesia is struggling with the worst COVID-19 epidemic in Southeast Asia and authorities are relying on a vaccine to help alleviate the health and economic crises ravaging the country.

READ: Indonesian clerics declare Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine halal

Indonesia will begin its nationwide COVID-19 mass vaccination programme on Jan 13.

The programme will launch in Jakarta, with President Joko Widodo set to be given the first shot, Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in a statement, while vaccinations in other regions will start in the following two days.

READ: COVID-19 - Why Indonesia is vaccinating its working population first, not elderly

The government has previously said 1.3 million frontline workers are due to be among the first to receive the vaccines made by China's Sinovac Biotech. Indonesia has received 3 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine, named CoronaVac .

Indonesia has also secured over 329 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, most notably from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech , and AstraZeneca.

Indonesia has previously said that it must inoculate 181.5 million people, or roughly 67 per cent of the population, to reach herd immunity.

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Source: Reuters/aj

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