Hey Indo! – As a precautionary measure to stop the spread of a new variant of Covid-19 called Omicron, the Central Government through the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan revised the entry requirements policy by extending the quarantine period for international travelers to seven days. According to preliminary research, a new variant recently discovered in South Africa and now worldwide could be more contagious and avoid vaccines.

From the previously implemented 3 day quarantine, Luhut extended the quarantine time to 7 days for both international travelers and Indonesian citizens who have recently traveled from other countries outside Indonesia. Travelers who have recently traveled from 11 countries with high risk of Omicron variant transmission such as Hong Kong, South Africa, Malawi, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Eswatini, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Lesotho are now required to undergo 14 days of quarantine upon arrival.

The new COVID-19 quarantine period for foreign nationals and Indonesian citizens arriving in Indonesia from abroad would have been made effective at one minute after midnight on November 29, 2021.

The Health Ministry would also boost genomic sequencing of COVID-19 to detect the Omicron variant, he said.

Meanwhile, Spokesperson for COVID-19 Vaccination at the ministry Siti Nadia Tarmizi said earlier that the Indonesia Govermant has continued to monitor the new virus variant through the whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis.

“Until now, the new variant has not been detected in Indonesia,” she remarked.

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) report, she noted that the Omicron variant can quickly transmit, easily cause COVID-19 reinfection, and reduce vaccine efficacy.

Lung specialist at the Faculty of Medicine of University of Indonesia, Tjandra Yoga Aditama, suggested that the quarantine period for international travelers need to be extended to one or two weeks after they arrive in Indonesia.

“In the circular letter of the Director General of Immigration, there are exceptions for foreigners who will attend G20 meetings. However, they must undergo strict examinations and an adequate quarantine period,” he said.

He noted that WHO had classified the Omicron variant into the Variant of Concern (VOC) on November 26, 2021. Meanwhile, the virus was confirmed for the first time on November 9, 2021. (source : medcom)