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Indonesia reopens its borders to international visitors with limited valid visas

Adam Layaan Kurik Riza

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After the Ministry of Law and Human Rights published a ministerial decree reopening applications for tourist and limited stay visas for fully-vaccinated tourists, Indonesia has opened a handful of its borders to foreigners.

“Previously, only diplomats and service members were permitted to enter the nation. With the issuing of Ministerial Regulation No. 34/2021 today, persons with valid tourist and restricted stay visas can now enter Indonesia as well “Arya Pradhana Anggakara, spokeswoman for the Directorate General of Immigration, said in a statement on Thursday.

Furthermore, the government has managed to establish international borders at six transportation hubs, including the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten province, the Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado, North Sulawesi province, seaports in Batam, Riau Islands province, and Nunukan, North Kalimantan province, as well as land cross-border posts in the area.

According to a recent press release from the Transportation Ministry’s spokesperson Adita Irawati, the aforementioned seaports and land crossings reopened for international travelers on Thursday, and the two airports on Friday.

Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs, also stated on Friday that the government plans to reopen Bali to international tourists in October due to a recent decrease in the number of daily COVID-19 cases in Indonesia.

“If the number of cases continues to fall, we are sure that Bali will reopen in October,” Panjaitan said during a virtual press conference, adding that Indonesia will prioritize foreign tourists from countries with managed COVID-19 instances.

Travelers, both Indonesians, and foreigners, who want to enter the archipelago must be fully vaccinated, as well as show vaccine certificates and negative PCR test results taken no more than 72 hours before the departure time, according to a press release issued by the Transportation Ministry on Thursday.

Upon arrival, the tourists must undergo additional PCR testing and must stay in quarantine for eight days if the results are negative. On the eighth day, another negative PCR test result will be necessary. Foreigners and Indonesians alike must complete the Electronic Health Alert Card (E-HAC) within the PeduliLindungi contact tracing program.

A foreigner must also produce proof of health insurance coverage, which is anticipated to cover the individual’s health expenses, including COVID-19, while in Indonesia. Between September 15 and 17, the Immigration Office at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport registered 974 foreigners entering Indonesia and 874 foreigners departing the country. Meanwhile, the airport recorded 2,961 Indonesians returning home and 3,418 Indonesians departing the nation.

“In total, 15,343 foreigners entered Indonesia between August 1 and September 17, with 22,122 foreigners leaving the country over the same period,” Sam Fernando, chief of the immigration office’s public relations and information technology section, told the media on Friday.

During the same time period, 51,658 Indonesians returned to the country and 50,925 Indonesians left the archipelago.

In comparison to the previous month, the number of daily new COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has decreased significantly this week. The Health Ministry reported 3,835 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday, with 219 deaths, compared to over 20,000 new infections just one month earlier.

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MPS still under Home Minister: PO

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President’s Office on Tuesday stated that though Maldives Police Service (MPS) is now operating as an independent entity, the Home Minister is still the responsible figure for the agency.

Following the ratification and implementing of MPS Act, MPS would function as an independent entity, with various internal governing bodies. The Home Minister will be responsible for overseeing the body but will have no control over day to day operations.

Confusion reigned supreme following a letter sent by President’s Office to the Home Affairs, stating that MPS would function as an independent entity effective from March 27, 2021. The letter also stated the Ministry’s functions and roles following this decision.

Clause 242 of the Constitution mandates that all government and government associated agencies be overseen by a Minister.

The statement issued by President’s Office said that Home Minister Sheikh Imran would still oversee the agency.

In response to the change, Minister Imran tweeted that ‘challenges’ were natural and expected. He added that success was in perseverance.

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Tourism Ministry sets three-year period for resorts to open

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Minister of Tourism Dr Abdullah Mausoom has revealed that the Ministry intends to automatically revoke the islands leased for resort development, if the developers fail to open the property within a three-year period.

Speaking to local newspaper, Mihaaru, the Minister revealed that this was already in the plans and a new agreement will be signed based on this principle.

Statistics by Tourism Ministry in 2020, show that over 50 resorts were still under development, with parties filing to extend the permits for 21 islands. Some of the leased islands have been listed as under development for over 10 years.

This, he said, was being implemented to urge developers to finish developing the property and begin operations. Minister Mausoom noted that most citizens living close to islands under development had raised their concerns over delays.

The Minister had previously said that Tourism sustained severe losses due to the pandemic. While the sector aims to bring in 1.3 million tourists, there are several challenges including a new mutation of the delta strain detected in the UK and limitations of the airport to cater for arrivals.

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U23 national team departs for Bahrain

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The under 23 national football team has departed to Bahrain for training ahead of AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.

The qualifiers will be held in Uzbekistan from the 27th to the 31st of this month.

The team is accompanied by Assistant Coaches Sabah Mohamed and Mohamed Shahid. They will play two practice matches in Bahrain before heading to straight to qualifiers in Uzbekistan. The team had also carried out successful training camps in the atolls.

Maldives will face off against Iraq on 27th October, against Bahrain on 29th October, and Afghanistan on 31st October.

Competing nations are divided into 11 groups. First place winners will go into the Asian Cup. Additionally, four top-performing teams from the second placed nations will proceed to the Cup.

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