Retno Marsudi, foreign minister of Indonesia had said that the country will be banning international tourists for the period of 2 weeks to keep out a new potentially more contagious variant of the coronavirus.
The new regulation will be effective from January 01, 2021, comes after Indonesia banned travelers from Britain and tightened rules for those arriving from Europe and Australia to limit the spread of a new variant.
Before this, the country had banned all foreign tourists from entry with some exemptions for business travelers, however, this new rule will only allow high-government officials or foreigners with residency permits said the minister.
Indonesia had suffered when the coronavirus pandemic had begun and it struggled to contain the spread with nearly 720,000 confirmed cases and 21,500 deaths which are the highest in SE Asia.
Recently, it announced 5854 infections with 215 deaths and the % of positivity rate has decreased to less than 20%.
Indonesia’s healthcare system has come under strain as the Java island is now requiring more beds as emergency wards are near capacity.
Senior Health Minister Abdul Kadir on Monday said that due to the possible year-end holiday infections that have affected the nation, the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta already has reached around 84%.
In west Java, the cases have risen and hospital occupancy has reached around 83% and in the east, the cases are around 77%.
“This means that these regions are in the red zone. The bed capacity is now in the red zone. Any uptick will overwhelm hospitals,” said the senior health minister.