JAKARTA – Indonesia is establishing a safe transit corridor from Singapore to Batam and Bintan, according to Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto (Jan 24).
Mr Hartarto said the Indonesian government chose to create the travel bubble since the COVID-19 cases in Batam and Bintan are now under control at a virtual press conference.
“To stimulate tourism activities in Batam, Bintan, the government is pushing for a travel bubble between Batam, Bintan, and Singapore,” Mr Hartarto added.
Nongsapura ferry station in Batam and Bandar Bentan Telani ferry terminal in Bintan will be the entrance points, he noted.
“Travelers must be vaccinated twice and have a negative PCR test within three days (before to travel),” Mr Hartarto explained.
Travellers must also carry insurance worth S$30,000 and use the PeduliLindungi and Blue Pass COVID-19 tracing programs in Indonesia.
Luhut Pandjaitan, the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, indicated at the same press conference that the travel bubble would be assessed every week. “If we believe it’s excellent, we’ll keep doing it.” If not, we’ll come to a halt,” he warned.
The two Indonesian ministers did not go into detail about the safe travel corridor’s quarantine and other testing criteria. They also didn’t say when the travel bubble would begin.
Singapore declared in November of last year that it would begin a unilateral vaccinated travel lane (VTL) with Indonesia on November 29.
Singapore’s Transport Minister S Iswaran remarked at the time that the VTL with Indonesia would be unilateral for the time being because Indonesia was still closed to general travel.
“We expect that Indonesia will soon reopen its borders to Singaporeans,” he stated at the time.
Both foreign ministers “decided to continue bilateral (reciprocally) negotiations on VTL arrangements,” according to a statement released by the Indonesian foreign ministry on November 16.
On Tuesday, the next Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat will take place in Bintan.