Indonesia has extended its ban on foreign arrivals for another 14 days in a bid to control the transmission of the coronavirus, its chief economic minister said on Monday.
The government has said the reason for the stricter measures against international visitors, which were imposed on Jan 1, was to try to keep out the new Covid-19 variants detected in Britain and South Africa.
The country is struggling with the worst Covid-19 epidemic in Southeast Asia and authorities are building their hopes on a vaccine to help alleviate the health and economic crises ravaging the country.
The inoculation programme will launch in Jakarta, with President Joko Widodo planned to be given the first shot.
The government has said Indonesia will be vaccinating its working population first, rather than the elderly, aiming to reach herd immunity fast and revive the economy, in a strategy that will be closely watched by other countries.
The government has previously said 1.3 million frontline workers are due to be among the first to receive the vaccines made by China’s Sinovac Biotech. Indonesia has received three million doses of the Sinovac vaccine, named CoronaVac.
That vaccine was pronounced halal, or permissible under Islam, by the Indonesian Ulema Council on Friday.
Indonesia has also secured over 329 million vaccine doses, most notably from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech , and AstraZeneca.
Jakarta has said that it must inoculate 181.5 million people, or roughly 67% of the Indonesian population, to reach country-wide herd immunity.