Tourists hoping to travel to Bali in 2022, when international travel has been tipped to resume, will need to be vaccinated or potentially barred from entry, according to reports.
Indonesia's Covid-19 Task Force has issued a new set of requirements for foreign entry, which mandates that those entering Indonesia must test negative for coronavirus and also show a card or certificate that indicates they have received their full dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
The new 'no vax, no fly' policy has been met with various reactions from foreign nationals currently living in Bali, with many taking to social media to air their frustrations about getting the jab.
While some anti-vaxxers have slammed the rule, other travellers currently living in Indonesia say they would prefer to get the covid jab in their own home countries. Others, however, say that like in Australia – getting access to the jab is proving near impossible.
According to local media, one Facebook user said they recently arrived in Jakarta from the Netherlands and intended to travel to Bali, but were now unable to do so because they "do not want to be vaccinated".
While Indonesia's Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno suggested Bali would reopen in July 2021 to vaccinated tourists, a growing surge in Covid-19 cases has pushed this date back for the foreseeable future.
"We are targeting the end of July, beginning of August, but we just have to be mindful of where we are in this recent spike," he said.
"We will be waiting for the situation to become more conductive."
Currently, Bali has around 200 cases per day, with local media reporting the Tourism Minister wants to bring cases down to about 30 to 40 cases per day before reopening.
The Red Cross, however, has warned that Indonesia is "on the edge of catastrophe" because of a rapid rise in Covid-19.
The head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said that the world needs "lightning-fast action globally so that countries like Indonesia have access to vaccines to avert tens of thousands of deaths".
Vaccination levels remain low throughout the country of Indonesia, with the country only reporting 5 per cent of the population fully vaccinated.
The Balinese government has vaccinated 71 per cent of its population so far. This is because the Indonesian government prioritised the holiday island as a vaccination hub due to its economic significance.
According to local media Coconuts,it is understood the vaccine certificate requirement will not apply to foreign nationals with diplomatic visas, visiting on an official state capacity, or entering Indonesia under the Travel Corridor Arrangement scheme. The TCA is not meant for the general public, but rather exclusively for business travellers to facilitate the nation's economic activities.
The corridor has been set between Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates, China, South Korea, and Singapore.
While the task force has not given a time frame for the new vaccination mandate measures, it is understood the co-ordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment — which oversees the tighter social restrictions on the islands — said they will take effect in July.
"We already understand that there is an increase in Covid-19 cases and new variants that continue to spread in various countries, so the government added special provisions to protect Indonesian citizens from imported cases," said Ganip Warsito, head of the Covid-19 Handling Task Force, in an online news conference on Sunday.
The Indonesian government website listed 'updates' to the Addendum, listing all international travellers, both Indonesian citizens and foreigners, must comply with the following conditions/requirements:
a. Indonesian citizens are required to present vaccination cards or certificates (physical or digital) with a complete dose of Covid-19 vaccine as a requirement to enter Indonesia, and in the event that Indonesian citizens have not received the vaccine abroad, they will be vaccinated at the quarantine location upon arrival in Indonesia after the second Covid test is carried out and shows negative results;
b. Foreign citizens are required to present a complete dose of Covid-19 vaccine certificates (physical or digital) as a requirement to enter Indonesia;
c. Foreign citizens who are already in Indonesia and will travel, both domestically and internationally, are required to get vaccinated through a vaccination program or mutual co-operation scheme in accordance with the laws and regulations; and
d. The obligation to present Covid-19 vaccination cards or certificates (physical or digital) is excluded for foreign citizens holding diplomatic visas and service visas related to official/state visits of foreign officials at a ministerial level and above and foreign citizens who enter Indonesia with the travel corridor arrangement scheme, in accordance with the principle of reciprocity while still implementing strict health protocols.
The new rules are similar to what's been implemented in Thailand's popular tourist island of Phuket.
The resort island is now allowing vaccinated international travellers to enter without quarantine restrictions.
Off the island of Phuket, the country continues to battle its third and worst Covid-19 wave since the start of the pandemic. Earlier this month, Thailand reported a record-high 57 Covid-19 deaths and 5,533 new cases, mostly in Bangkok.