Here’s a relief to those who were about to cancel their upcoming Indonesia vacation! The Health Minister of Indonesia has declared the country Coronavirus-free. In the wake of the ongoing epidemic and amidst the concerns by WHO and other nations, the statement has brought this archipelago nation into the limelight.
Indonesia is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Southeast Asia, with Bali being the major tourism attractant. In fact, the country welcomes over 2 million Chinese tourists every year and this year too started on the same note. But with the novel Coronavirus hitting the globe, several countries including Indonesia had to suspend flights from China (where it all began), as a precaution. This is when the speculations started mounting up. Before suspending the flights, over 5000 Chinese tourists had landed in Indonesia with around 200 being from Wuhan, the originating point of the virus. But so far no case of this viral-infection has been officially reported.
And as the immediate neighbours including Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and Australia have found cases, Indonesia maintains its claim on being unaffected. Through a few recent public statements by its various officials, Indonesia says traveling to their country is safe. “So far, Indonesia is the only major country in Asia that does not have a corona case…The coronavirus does not exist in Indonesia,” says Mohammad Mahfud MD – Security Minister of Indonesia. The 285 people who had landed from Wuhan are in quarantine on the Natuna Island. None of them show signs of being infected, he added.
The Health Minister of Indonesia – Terawan Agus Putranto also addressed the concerns saying, “We have the kits to check coronavirus and they’re certified … Nothing is concealed.” Further throwing light on the preventive steps taken by the government, the Health Ministry Research And Development agency head, Siswanto said that 62 of the 64 tested samples that were suspected to be coronavirus infections have been declared negative. The remaining two are still being tested.
Another reassuring statement came from the WHO’s Indonesia representative – Navaratnasamy Paranietharan who said, “Indonesia has taken concrete measures and the World Health Organization is quite confident that Indonesia is ready to be able to respond to this situation.”
Over the past few days, the news of coronavirus has spread faster than the epidemic itself. This has majorly affected the global tourism industry. While there are several other nations holding the same claim like Indonesia, the confusion and fear has led to large-scale booking cancellations by the travelers. In such a scenario, a statement like the one given by the West Australian Government is quite encouraging. “We are not saying that people have to curtail their trips to Bali…At the moment DFAT [the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade] has the same travel advisory for Bali, so people shouldn’t be alarmed,” said the WA Health Minister – Roger Cook. So, Indonesia is officially a coronavirus-free country.
Situations like these surely call for transparency and reassurance by the governments. But it also demands awareness and willingness on the traveler’s part. There are numerous destinations that are are still safe. So you may not have to give up on the plan of your upcoming holiday in Indonesia.