The Jakarta Post
Ahead of the upcoming long weekend, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has reminded travelers to ensure they have negative COVID-19 test results, especially for those who plan to use trains or airplanes.
The extended public holiday has come about as the government has set Oct. 28 and Oct. 30 as collective leave days for Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, which falls on Oct. 29.
The required tests are nonreactive rapid or negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.
The requirement is set out in the government’s COVID-19 Response and Economic Recovery Committee circular on mobility during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“[The requirement for test results] remains effective in order to ensure everyone’s safety and to boost public confidence,” Budi said in a statement sourced from a discussion hosted by the national COVID-19 task force in Jakarta on Wednesday.
He further said the requirement was essential as part of the nation’s efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve.
Budi, who has previously contracted the virus, said that it was also important for travelers to keep masks on their faces, as well as to refrain from eating, drinking or chatting throughout the trip.
“If we receive complimentary food or meals, keep them in our bags [to be eaten later]. Also, we must try our best not to chat with others as we tend to free our face from masks while doing so,” he added.
As the minister often travels in the line of duty, he has witnessed more people complying with COVID-19 health protocols.
“The trips are often rather quiet and most people prefer to avoid eating. Although most airlines have HEPA technology in their aircraft, I think it is safer for us all to avoid eating, drinking or chatting,” said Budi, referring to high-efficiency particulate air filters.
The HEPA filters are made of extremely tightly knit fibers that capture and remove impurities from the air. They clean up the air circulation and prevent viruses from spreading within the cabin.
As for road transportation, the minister said the government would apply checkpoints at regional borders in order to monitor public compliance with health protocols.
Budi said virus transmission in family cars was less likely than at tourist destinations and eateries.
He said the authorities would apply random checks on buses that would focus on protocol implementation, including in regard to passenger capacity.
“A bus that has a capacity of up to 42 passengers will only be allowed to convey 20 to 30 passengers. We will conduct random checking,” he added.
Separately, Salatiga in Central Java is requiring travelers entering the city to bring their health clearance letters or nonreactive rapid test results as part of its efforts to stop the virus transmission.
“We’ve seen an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases recently. I hope we won’t have a surge that comes from travelers,” Salatiga Mayor Yuliyanto said on Wednesday as quoted by kompas.com.
As of Thursday noon, Salatiga had recorded a total of 300 confirmed cases with 262 recoveries and five fatalities. (nkn)
Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.