Indonesians with travel history to Singapore will not be barred from returning home: Indonesian embassy

Indonesians with travel history to Singapore will not be barred from returning home: Indonesian embassy

Tourists wearing protective face masks pose for photos at the Merlion Park in Singapore
People wearing protective face masks pose for photos at the Merlion Park in Singapore, Jan 28, 2020. (File photo: REUTERS/Feline Lim)

SINGAPORE: Indonesians returning home from Singapore will not be refused entry at immigration checkpoints, said the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore. 

The embassy had issued a clarification on its Facebook page on Tuesday (Feb 11), to quell worries after receiving many queries from concerned Indonesians through its hotline phone amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 

"The Indonesian government does not refuse the entry of Indonesian citizens, or other citizens who arrive in Indonesia from Singapore, as long as they do not have a history of travel to China within 14 days," the Facebook post said.

Urging citizens to remain calm, the embassy added that Indonesians are also not barred from visiting Singapore. 

Ms Ratna Lestari Harjana, the embassy's Head of Information and Socio-Cultural Affairs, told CNA on Wednesday that the embassy was inundated with calls over the past few days from Indonesians who were anxious to find out if the rumours they heard were true. 

“We put up the clarification on Tuesday to explain that Indonesians will never be rejected entry in Indonesia because Indonesia is their home.

"Even if they have a travel history to China, we would accept them as long as they follow the health procedures, such as a home quarantine which every government has been doing, including Singapore,” Ms Harjana said.

Temperature taking in Singapore
Temperature-taking for office workers at Mapletree Industrial at Serangoon North (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

The outbreak, believed to have originated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, has so far infected more than 44,000 people and claimed over 1,000 lives in mainland China. 

To curb the spread of the virus, many countries have imposed a travel restriction on Chinese nationals and halted flights to China. 

In addition to cancelling flights, Indonesia announced on Feb 2 that visitors who have been in China for 14 days will not be allowed to enter or transit in Indonesia.

As of Tuesday, Singapore had 47 confirmed cases. Indonesia, meanwhile, has not reported any confirmed cases.

Last week, Singapore’s Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level was raised from Yellow to Orange after the country saw several cases of infection without travel history to mainland China or links to previous cases.

Following that, the Indonesian government raised its travel alert level for Singapore from the lowest level of Green to Yellow last weekend. No travel restriction is imposed and citizens are advised to be alert and to take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. 

READ: Malaysian Health Minister announces joint working committee with Singapore to tackle COVID-19

The travel alert has raised concerns among Indonesians who have impending travel plans to Singapore.

They have resorted to contacting the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore to clarify the situation.

People wearing protective face mask at Orchard Road, Singapore
People seen wearing protective face masks at Orchard Road, Singapore on Jan 28, 2020. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

Ms Harjana said the embassy wanted to put a stop to the rumours. 

“We want to emphasise that is not true. We don’t know where such hoaxes are spreading, but since there’s an increasing concern resulting in the many questions coming to us, we felt we needed to address this,” she said.

Mr Teuku Faizasyah, Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry acting spokesman, told CNA that Indonesians are allowed to visit Singapore.

“The government’s task is to remind them (of the current situation) and our citizens can make their own decisions.

“That is why the embassy put up the notice so our citizens can be wiser in responding to unconfirmed rumours,” he said on Wednesday.

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Source: CNA/ks(tx)

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