COVID-19 has moved to different parts of the world. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO), as of June 5, 2020, showed a total of COVID-19 confirmed cases of 6,515,796 cases with a total death of COVID-19 of 387,298 cases. The distribution of COVID-19 should be suppressed as best as possible so that the number of confirmed cases decreases. One of the things that Indonesia has done is to create ‘rules of the game’ in and out of Indonesia or “health protocols” for the return of Indonesian citizens (WNI) and the arrival of foreign citizens (WNA) at the entrance of Indonesia.

The limited coordination between agencies to deal with COVID-19 at the border is the main reason the health protocol at the entrance is no less important. Such health protocol can be seen on the Circular Letter of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia Number HK.02.01/MENKES/332/2020. This circular letter seeks to achieve better integration among stakeholders who are in charge of handling cases of WNA and WNI arrival in Indonesia.

Despite already being regulated in a previous circular letter, the Minister of Health feels that there should be a newer circular letter to maximize effectiveness in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Through the abovementioned letter, the Minister of Health sets forth at least three main protocols on how to address arrivals of WNI and WNA to Indonesia’s entrance gates.

Firstly, all procedures already established beforehand should be in accordance with the health quarantine laws and regulations. It means that no institutions can make health protocols provisions other than the provided scope in the health quarantine laws and regulations. This brings us to the next protocol in the circular letter.

Secondly, the Minister of Health wants all WNA and WNI arriving in Indonesia’s gates to implement physical distancing, use masks, and follow all the health quarantine rules. This protocol is followed with mandatory background checks to all health certificates brought by the arriving WNA and WNI.

Lastly, if necessary, health officials must conduct additional health check-ups to WNA and WNI with non-reactive rapid test results. This may include interviews, temperature checks, or dissemination of health alert cards (HAC). As for those showing reactive rapid test results, it is urged for officials to conduct reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests. If RT-PRC shows negative results, health officials in the border areas are to send WNI citizens to the nearest reference hospitals or to brief them with self-isolation procedures. As for WNA, health officials are to quarantine them accordingly based on the RT-PRC results.

Through this circular letter, Indonesia is getting more serious in limiting the spread of COVID-19 by robustly scanning people moving in and out of its borders. As per COVID-19 cases, it is seen as necessary for people to reduce their activities abroad so that when they get home, chances for COVID-19 to spread wildly can be minimized. It will not be a surprise to see the Minister of Health to keep revising his circular letters on health protocols if we do not stop keeping them busy. The solution? Work. From. Home.

LXR – Abdur.

Circular Letter of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia Number HK.02.01/MENKES/332/2020 on Health Protocols of Arrivals Controls of Indonesian Citizens and Foreigners in the Regional and State Entrance Gates during Large-Scale Social Restriction (PSBB) as to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19.