On Tuesday, March 31, Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi announced that all arrivals and transits by foreign nationals in Indonesia will be banned to prevent further spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). However, foreigners with a limited stay permit card (Kitas), permanent stay permit card (Kitap), or other similar permits will still be allowed to enter Indonesia. Authorities added that the measures will be formalized as a regulation by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. Earlier on Friday, March 20, the Indonesian government suspended all visa-free and visa-on-arrival arrangements for one month. President Joko Widodo announced on Monday, March 30, that the government is drafting a regulation to impose large scale social distancing, which will include the suspension of non-essential services as well as strict movement control orders.
A state of emergency in Jakarta remains in place for two weeks as of Friday, March 20. From Monday, March 23, non-essential businesses such as bars, spas, and cinemas will be closed, and public transportation will be limited. Authorities have also urged companies to allow staff to work from home.
As of Monday, March 30, the Ministry of Health has confirmed 1414 COVID-19 cases nationwide, with 122 fatalities. Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the coming days and weeks.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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