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Indonesian tourist islands re-open to visitors from 19 countries

dpa
Jakarta
Indonesia on Thursday re-opened its tourist islands to visitors from 19 countries following a lull in Covid-19 cases, an official said. 
“Following the president’s directive, we are allowing visitors from 19 countries to travel to Bali and Riau Islands,” Luhut Pandjaitan, the official in charge of pandemic measures, said in a statement. 
The countries are Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Liechtenstein, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Hungary and Norway, he said.
Pandjaitan said the countries were considered to have the pandemic under control under the World Health Organization (WHO)’s four-tiered alert system. 
Tourists from those countries can only enter Indonesia through the resort island of Bali and Riau Islands, which include the tourist island of Bintan near Singapore, Pandjaitan said.
They must have a Covid-19 vaccination certificate written in English and proof of a negative PCR test as well as a hotel booking.    People from other countries with visas for purposes other than tourism can enter Indonesia through Jakarta and Manado international airports provided they meet the requirements, Pandjaitan said.   Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport was due to start opening for international flights on Thursday. 
But as of Thursday evening, no single international flight has landed in Bali, said Taufan Yudhistira, a spokesman for Angkasa Pura I, the state-owned company that operates the airport.  “No airline has applied for international flights to and from Bali,” he said.
Bali’s tourism chief, Putu Astawa, said on Wednesday that he did not expect to see an influx of foreigners in the coming days.  “The timing is too abrupt,” he was quoted as saying by the Bali Post.
“Maybe in November we will start seeing” more tourists.  Indonesia has earlier decided to cut an isolation period for people arriving in the country from eight to five days. “
Indonesia has gradually eased restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 after a surge in coronavirus cases overwhelmed hospitals in June and July.  But in recent weeks daily case numbers have fallen steadily, dropping below 1,500 a day.
Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country with 270 million people, has recorded 4.2 million coronavirus cases, with more than 142,000 deaths.

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