Authorities are considering removing all quarantine restrictions for Bali and the rest of the country as early as April, according to a Bloomberg report.
Luhut Panjaitan, the cabinet minister in charge of the pandemic response in Java and Bali is said to be pushing the proposal.
Panjaitan also confirmed that the existing quarantine period will be cut from five to three days, beginning next week.
Despite the lack of information on the matter, it has been reported that Indonesia will continue to require PCR testing upon arrival as a condition of entry.
A downward trend in COVID-19 severe cases, hospitalizations, and deaths appear to be the cause for Indonesia to do this U-turn on its rather strict entry policy.
“We need to find that balance between the need to maintain health and the need to maintain the economy. Hospitalization and death rates have been so much lower than those suffered during the Delta outbreak.”
The government also raised office capacity from 25% to 50%.
Indonesia recorded 36,501 new cases on Thursday with 145 deaths, the highest number since September 23.
However, when compared to the over 2,000 deaths reported in July of last year, this is still a huge decrease. Meanwhile, Panjaitan claims that the COVID hospitalization rate remains stable at around 30%.
Indonesia, as well as other Asian economies, has experienced pressure from international carriers to lift entry restrictions.
Last week, Jetstar postponed the launch of Bali flights to Monday, March 14 from Melbourne and Tuesday, March 15 from Sydney “due to the current entry and quarantine requirements of five days,” when operations were set to start on Feb. 14.
Singapore Airlines, on the other hand, restarted service to Bali on Feb. 16. The carrier has committed to operating daily flights from Singapore to the island since then.
In addition, Garuda Indonesia is restarting flights between Tokyo’s Narita Airport and Bali this week.