AmCham Indonesia, in collaboration with the COVID-19 Task Force (SATGAS), today, March 17, hosted a virtual discussion to take “An In-Depth Look to Vaccine Rollout, Travel Restrictions, and Quarantine Procedure for Expatriates.” We had a panel of health care experts, which included the Ministry of Health’s Director for Prevention And Control of Vector-borne and Zoonotic Diseases (P2PTVZ)Dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi, and Sub-Coordinator for Regional Health Quarantine and Land Cross Border Posts Dr. I Made Yosi Purbadi Wirentana, along with the Head of the Health Management Division of Satgas Dr. Alexander K Ginting.
The session was opened by AmCham’s Managing Director A Lin Neumann, who welcomed AmCham’s first event with Satgas and said he hoped it could lead to future collaboration between the two. AmCham’s Director of Government Relations Gusti Kahari introduced the speakers and moderated the discussion.
Dr. Yosi started the discussion by emphasizing the importance of quarantine procedures, for both Indonesian citizens (WNI) and foreigners (WNA). In the past 11 months, 184.372 overseas travelers were admitted to isolation and quarantine facilities, of which 4,174 individuals were confirmed to be COVID-19 positive. This highlights that the implementation of quarantine protocols for international travelers has a strategic function in maintaining the safety and security of the nation. It also must be done in an integrated manner and is our shared responsibility.
Dr. Alexander then spoke of the current COVID-19 statistics in Indonesia, an update on Satgas activities, and its goals in terms of mitigating the pandemic. He also explained that long weekends pose a problem because of the mass mobilization culture, which could hamper COVID-19 mitigation efforts. He said there will be a coordination meeting to discuss the Eid al-Fitr (Lebaran) holiday, to ensure that citizens are able to experience homecoming (mudik) while adhering to the proper health protocols.
The last presentation was by Dr. Nadia, who talked about the execution of the COVID-19 vaccinations. She explained that currently there are no medicinal cures for the COVID-19 virus making it imperative for individuals to get the vaccine in order to reach group immunity. To reach group immunity quickly, she said it is important to increase our vaccination capacity. This leads to the influx of vaccines coming into Indonesia in July, which would allow for one million vaccinations to take place per day.
She told attendees that acquiring vaccines for the government’s target of over 181.5 million people was calculated solely for Indonesians, so Kitas holders were less of a priority for public vaccination. She further said there were no technical guidelines in place yet for the Gotong Royong program, therefore will still need to wait for further implementing regulation to establish the type of foreigners eligible.
The overall takeaway from the event was that Indonesia is increasing its efforts to mitigate the pandemic, with some success but more work is needed, and it is vital everyone continues to observe strict health protocols, including not traveling to other parts of Indonesia during holidays and long weekends, especially for mudik.