Legislator Asks Govt to Review Mandatory PCR Test to Enter Indonesia
Member of the House Commission VI, Gde Sumarjaya Linggih. Photo: Ist/nvl
Following the easing of some public activity restrictions and reopening of tourist destinations, Member of the House Commission VI—overseeing trade and investment, Gde Sumarjaya Linggih, began questioning the mandatory PCR test requirement for international travellers returning to Indonesia, arguing that domestic travellers are now required to only present negative antigen test results when traveling by air.
“It doesn’t make sense. You want to return to Indonesia, but you are required to take the PCR test again even though you have been fully vaccinated,” he told Parlementaria on Wednesday (4/5/2022). He said when he was in Singapore and wanted to return to Indonesia, he was told to take the PCR test first. That surprised him because he had not been informed in advance that he had to take the test upon departure, even for those who are fully vaccinated.
He said the policy seemed to indicate that ‘Indonesia is restricting itself’. Some rules require international air travellers arriving at the I Gusti Ngurah Rai airport to obtain negative PCR test results taken at a maximum of 2x24 hours prior to departure from the origin airport. Unvaccinated travellers or those with a temperature above 37.5 degrees Celsius must also take the PCR test. Therefore, the PCR test should not be required anymore for vaccinated travellers, he added.
If travellers tested positive for COVID-19 using PCR testing, they would have to be quarantined in hotel rooms in Singapore. “The problem is that it's become a business opportunity for Singapore, where you would be forced to stay longer in Singapore. Hotels there are now packed. They benefit from this, not us. And it's quite ridiculous that Indonesia restricts itself. I think antigen testing should be enough,” said the Golkar Party politician.
He went on to say the mandatory PCR test seems to contradict the government's statement that boosters provide immunity against COVID-19, stressing that the mandatory PCR test appears to be an irony. "There are no restrictions to enter Singapore. Antigen testing is enough. How come Indonesian citizens are restricted from entering their own home?" asked the legislator from the Bali constituency.
Linggih said that the policy needs to be reassessed, adding government policies should not inflict losses on their country but benefit other countries instead. "For example, if one tests positive from a PCR testing in Singapore, they will be quarantined in that country. So, who will get the benefit? Singapore wins, Indonesia loses. I would ask this policy to be reviewed. At least there should be a comprehensive explanation about international travel requirements. Don't make such a confusing policy," he said.
Meanwhile, General Manager of Angkasa Pura I Ngurah Rai International Airport, Herry A.Y Sikado, confirmed that to enter Bali, travellers must take a 2x24 hour PCR test at the origin airport. "If they depart from the origin airport (overseas), they need to take a PCR test. This policy took effect on 5 April. But, if they have received a booster dose of vaccine, they don't need a PCR test upon arriving in Indonesia," he explained. (sf-mut)