The government believes more than 1 million people have gone on mudik (exodus) trips over the Idul Fitri holiday despite the ongoing ban and is screening returning travelers as it anticipates a spike in COVID-19 cases. Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said on Saturday that more than 1.5 million people had managed to return to their hometowns despite the mudik ban imposed between May 6 and 17, about a week before and after Idul Fitri, which fell on May 13 this year. Travelers will return May 16-20. To lower the risk of spreading COVID the government is doing random testing along 21 gateway routes.
Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto revealed last week that 4,123 of 6,742 mudik travelers randomly tested for COVID-19 had tested positive, with 1,686 of them then undergoing self-isolation and 75 sent to hospitals.
With new variants now having entered Indonesia the pressure is on to contain and minimize the spread of the virus. Rosy predictions of economic recovery will have to be scaled back if this is difficult to achieve.
The Health Ministry has suspended the distribution of around 450,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday and submitted the batch to Indonesia’s drug authority for further tests following the death of a 22-year-old man who took the vaccine shot eleven days ago.
Indonesia is now banning travelers from India and Pakistan or who have traveled there. Check your airline regarding their route and landing policy.
Indonesia has not yet opened access for visa-on-arrival and visa-free during the COVID-19 pandemic, except for foreigners with essential purposes such as businesses, works, or humanitarian reasons. Visit Indonesian Immigration (https://www.imigrasi.go.id) and the Indonesian Embassy (https://kemlu.go.id/washington/en) for updated visa and entry requirements as regulations may change frequently.
Port of entry for international flights remains Jakarta for most flights.
AICC Member, PT Cekindo can help secure business visas.
The current situation is that you need to have a local sponsor to obtain a visa and you have to undergo a 5-night quarantine. The local sponsor applies directly to Indonesia’s immigration department. Jakarta is currently the only port of entry; you fly to other regions (i.e. Bali) from there.
AICC member PT Cekindo is currently arranged business visas if you do not have a local sponsor. Contact: Vincent Cellier firstname.lastname@example.org
· Jokowi Again Maligns Foreign Products: The President may not have used the best choice of words when addressing a national Trade Ministry meeting on Thursday, where trade attaches of foreign embassies were also present. “Calls to love Indonesian products must continuously be echoed,” said the President, who added: “Echo calls for hating foreign products as well.” Jokowi did not name any country, but Reuters quoted Trade Minister Muhammad Lutfi as saying that the government would issue a regulation to prevent predatory pricing on e-commerce platforms, including those that sell Chinese goods. “We will regulate electronic trading,” the minister said.
· GoTo: Homegrown tech unicorns Gojek and Tokopedia announced the completion of a merger on Monday with the formation of a new entity called GoTo Group, which is now Indonesia’s highest-valued start-up at an estimated US$18 billion. This is a milestone development for Indonesia. The next step in the process will be some type of listing on a US exchange.
· Second Quarter Growth: Indonesia’s economy is believed to clock a nearly seven-percent growth in the 2021 second quarter following an upward trend in the realization of foreign direct investments and consumer confidence index, Coordinating Minister for Economy Airlangga Hartarto stated. “Our economic growth rate indicates a positive trend. It is expected to reach seven percent,” noted in a press statement on Saturday. The growth is coming from a -.7% first quarter contraction.
Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei Jointly Condemn Israel: Along with Malaysia and Brunei (SEA’s other Muslim majority nations), Indonesia has taken a hardline stance against Israel. The three countries called for an emergency UN General Assembly. In highly charged language—which did not refer to Hamas attack on Israel–their joint statement was the first-ever issued on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
“We request the United Nations General Assembly to convene an emergency session to address the grave developments and come up with a Uniting for Peace Resolution, with a view to putting an end to the atrocities carried out against the Palestinian people. . . We also unreservedly condemn the flagrant violations of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, perpetrated by Israel, the Occupying Power, through its inhumane, colonial and apartheid policies towards the Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and therefore call for an urgent and responsible collective action to ensure the necessary accountability for such violations.”
Separately the following statements were made: “Indonesia strongly condemns Israel’s attacks, which have resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives, including women and children. Israel’s aggression must be put to a stop,” President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said on Twitter on Saturday. “We are focusing on gaining international support so we can put huge pressure on Israel to stop the violence,” Abdul Kadir Jailani, director general for Asia Pacific and Africa, who accompanied Retno at the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) meeting, told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
(sources: International and Indonesia news media, Bali Update (from balidiscovery.com), Reformasi Weekly, US Embassy website)