Indonesia to restrict foreign travellers from India over COVID-19 variant

Indonesia to restrict foreign travellers from India over COVID-19 variant

Passengers wearing protective face masks walk at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport, in Tangerang
Passengers at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, Dec 23, 2020. (File photo: Antara Foto/Muhammad Iqbal via Reuters)

JAKARTA: Indonesia will stop issuing visas for foreigners who have been in India in the past 14 days to prevent the spread of different coronavirus strains, a government minister said on Friday (Apr 23).

India is facing a health crisis, including the impact of a "double mutant" strain of COVID-19, with the country posting the world's highest single-day increase in cases on Friday for a second day, surpassing 330,000 infections.

READ: India COVID-19 variant: What we know so far

"Based on these observations, the government has decided to stop issuing visas for foreigners who have lived (in) or visited India in the past 14 days," chief economic minister Airlangga Hartarto said on Friday.

The curbs follow the arrival in Indonesia of a chartered flight from Chennai carrying 129 people, 12 of whom tested positive for COVID-19. Samples had been taken for genomic sequencing, said health minister, Budi Gunadi Sadikin.

"Lots of people still enter Indonesia," he said. "We must be careful of those entering from South Asian countries."

Indonesians arriving from India will be allowed to enter, however, but must follow stricter health protocols and quarantine.

Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous nation, has among the worst COVID-19 epidemics in Asia, with more than 1.62 million cases and 44,000 deaths as of Thursday.

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Source: Reuters/dv

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