Breaking News: Indonesian has announced that the country will not require a booster shot for international arrivals. This includes the island of Bali.
Earlier Story Now Continues:
Just weeks after Indonesia scrapped the PCR test for vaccinated travelers, and removed outdoor mask mandates, the Central Government is set to change regulations for international travelers once again.
Based on increasing caseloads across Bali and Java, and around the world, the Central Government have announced that within the next two weeks regulations will change, requiring travelers to show proof of a booster Covid-19 vaccination at border control.
The booster vaccination requirements are also extended for Indonesian citizens who will soon need to show proof of their booster jab to enter public spaces such as malls, events, and stadiums. The news was announced by the Java-Bali Covid-19 Restrictions Coordinator Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, in light of recent updates from a Limited Cabinet Meeting chaired by President Joko Widodo.
The change in regulations is being drawn up by the national Covid-19 Task Force and according to Pandjaitan will be in place in ‘a maximum of two weeks’.
Although the government has not released a date for the new mandate coming into place, this update is not speculative.
Pandjaitan told the press clearly that ‘The government will also re-implement the requirement for booster vaccination as a condition for travel by air, land, and sea, which will be carried out in a maximum of two weeks…To encourage booster vaccination, and support travel requirements and entry to public places, [venues] such as malls and offices will be changed to booster vaccinations [centers]’.
President Widodo also added that there should be greater use of the PeduliLindung Track and Trace app across Indonesia. He noted that in some areas the enforcement of scanning QR codes prior to entry to a public space has been reduced. Checking in using the PeduliLindungi Track and Trace app is mandatory for shopping malls, cafes, restaurants, schools, places of work, and event spaces.
It is currently unclear how the news of the incoming mandatory booster vaccine for travelers will impact those who have plans to visit Bali in the coming weeks. The new Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese spoke to the press this morning, 6th July, to say that a third and fourth booster for all Australians is ‘a matter of urgency’ and simply an ‘inevitable’ part of living with Covid-19.
According to the booster vaccination advice page on the Australian Government Health website, last updated on the 22nd of June 2022, the booster jabs are only available for those who are vulnerable to severe Covid-19.
‘People aged 16 to 64 years who are not at risk of severe disease from COVID-19 are not recommended to receive a winter booster dose at this time’. In light of Prime Minster Albanese’s statement today, which was informed by a meeting with the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, eligibility for a booster shot could soon be widened to include all Australian residents, especially those who travel.
Roll out of booster vaccines in other countries where Bali’s most regular travelers are from, like the UK, New Zealand, Singapore, and India, are all rolling out booster vaccinations for those who are eligible too. Proof of booster vaccination will be mandatory for all international arrivals unless medically exempt with proof from a doctor.
A few weeks ago caseloads were consistently falling in Bali and were categorized as clinically under control. Now, caseloads are steadily climbing with more cases of two Omicron sub-variants, BA.4 and BA.5, which are believed to create strong symptoms even in those who have been vaccinated. This rise in caseloads is also being seen in Australia, the UK, France, and Italy.
To date, Bali’s vaccination rollout has been one of the most successful in all of Indonesia. Though the Covid-19 Task Force is concerned that the uptake of the booster vaccine has been slower than hoped.
Uptake of the second dose of the vaccine in Bali sits at 81%, whereas the uptake of the booster vaccine is just 24% of the government’s target. There are booster campaign efforts being run locally across all regencies in Bali.
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