Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Indonesia diverts attention to domestic tourists over coronavirus by Fardah

Jakarta, Feb 19, 2020 (ANTARA) - Several tourist resorts and parks in the Lagoi integrated and exclusive tourist area on Bintan Island, Riau Islands Province, have ceased operations following the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in China and 28 other countries.

Since January 23, 2020, the number of Chinese tourists on the island fell 100 percent after their government issued a travel advisory to the citizens over the coronavirus.

Not only in Bintan, but thousands of foreign tourists, mostly Chinese, canceled room reservations in and flight to Bali, North Sulawesi, and others, over the coronavirus outbreak, although Indonesia has, so far, remained free from coronavirus cases.

In fact, tourism industry around the globe has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak originating in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Official figures indicated that Chinese visitors accounted for 150 million overseas trips in 2019, while Chinese tourists spent $130 billion overseas in 2018, up 13 percent from the previous year, according to data of the China Tourism Academy.

Indonesia received 1.97 million Chinese tourists in 2017, and the figure increased to 2.7 million Chinese tourists in 2018. The Tourism Ministry had set a target to attract 3.5 million Chinese last year, but the realization reached 2.07 million owing to natural disasters and the impacts of the US-China trade war.

The Indonesian Tourism Ministry has forecast that the current onslaught of the coronavirus may inflict potential losses of US$2.8 billion on Indonesia’s tourism.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Indonesia plans medical center for disease control by Fardah

Jakarta , Feb 18 , 2020 (ANTARA) - It was a happy February 15, 2020 for 243 Indonesian citizens (WNI), who returned to their families after being in quarantine since February 2 inside Indonesia’s military facility on Natuna Island, Riau Islands Province. The 243 people were quarantined after being evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Of the total, 238 were evacuees, mostly Indonesian students, while the rest were members of the evacuation team and flight crew.

"Hence, take care of your health, keep exercising a bit, and just keep moving. Ensure sufficient nutritional intake to stay healthy. Do not forget to drink herbal medicine," Minister of Health Terawan Agus Putranto remarked while seeing them off on Natuna Island on February 2.

However, the controversy over choosing Natuna Island as a place to quarantine people has prompted Jakarta to consider building a special facility to handle contagious diseases as a precautionary measure against an outbreak in future.

When the government announced that the Indonesians from Wuhan would be quarantined on Natuna Islands, the locals had objected to the plan. They held protests and rejected their fellow Indonesians although none of them was infected by the virus.

The Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) has a military base called Raden Sadjad Air Base equipped with a hospital with a capacity of up to 300 beds and managed by the Army, the Air Force and the Navy.

Natuna residents were upset when they learned of the presence of the Indonesians apparently as they were not well informed about the observation process.

Hundreds of residents opted to leave Ranai, Natuna, and Riau Islands a day after the government quarantined the Indonesians.

To make thing worse, the Natuna district administration issued circulars asking schools to close from February 3 to 17, prompting residents to return to their hometowns and seek refuge.

However, the Home Affairs Ministry issued a circular asking the Natuna district administration to revoke their circular.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Indonesia serious in anticipating COVID-19 by Fardah

Jakarta , Feb 13, 2020 (ANTARA) - Many people wonder how Indonesia has so far remained safe and free from the coronavirus (COVID-19), as the virus has claimed more than 1,300 lives and affected some 60 thousand people, mostly in Hubei Province, China, and in 27 other countries.

Indonesia has so far never reported any COVID-19 cases, unlike its neighbors, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines, which have reported a number of coronavirus cases. This fact has raised questions. Several foreign medical researchers expressed worry that the cases might have gone undetected in a country having a population of over 265 million.

A team of researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in the United States, in a study conducted recently said that Indonesia’s lack of confirmed cases “may suggest the potential for undetected cases”, as air travel may contribute to cases being exported from China. The concern was based on the high number of airline passengers traveling between Indonesia and Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak in China.

Indonesia’s Health Minister, Terawan Agus Putranto, however, dismissed the study, citing the ministry’s international-standard medical procedures.

"All have been thoroughly checked. Our medical kits (to check the possibility of coronavirus) are from the United States of America," Putranto remarked on Feb 11, 2020.

"We are transparent with our research. If there are any experts from WHO (UN's World Health Organization) and US researchers interested in taking a look at our medical tests, they are welcome to come to our lab," he said.

He further noted that the UN's health body had approved the medical procedures conducted by the government of Indonesia.

"If there is a request for surveys or research, please file a letter with us, but we expect there to be no statements discrediting a country's effort (to tackle the virus)," he added.

In response to the question, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) confirmed that 62 suspected coronavirus cases in Indonesia had tested negative.

Thursday, February 6, 2020


Jakarta, 6/2/2020 (Antara) - Chinese tourists had been a very lucrative segment for Indonesia over the last several years, as their numbers tended to increase every year.
Indonesia had intensified tourism promotion activities and opened direct flights connecting its cities and Chinese cities to attract more tourists.
During the 2016-2017 period, Chinese tourists were recorded as the largest group of foreign travelers visiting Indonesia, outnumbering Australian visitors and those from Singapore and Malaysia.
A total of 1,385,850 Mainland Chinese tourists visited Bali in 2017 making the PRC the number one source of foreign visitors to the Island, overtaking Australia.
Indonesia received 1.97 million Chinese tourists in 2017 and the number increased to 2.7 million Chinese tourists in 2018. The Tourism Ministry had set a target to attract 3.5 million last year, but it was missed due to natural disasters and the impacts of the US-China trade war.
The situation has gone even worse since late last year due to the outbreak of coronavirus in China that claimed over 560 lives and infected some 28,000 others.
According to data of the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS), Indonesia missed its target of attracting 18 million foreign tourists last year, as the number of foreign tourist arrivals in 2019 reached 16.11 million, an increase from 15.81 million in 2018. The figure of 18 million visits was a revision from the previous target of 20 million foreign tourists.
Most foreign tourists visiting Indonesia last year were from Malaysia, with 2.98 million visits, or 18.51 percent; followed by China with 2.07 million visits, or 12.86 percent; Singapore with 1.93 million visits, or 12.01 percent; Australia with 1.39 million visits, or 8.61 percent, and Timor Leste with 118 thousand visits, or 7.32 percent.