(Bloomberg) -- Indonesia barred foreign nationals from entering the country as the world’s fourth-most populous country stepped up efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The travel ban, to be effective soon, will also cover foreigners transiting through the country, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Jakarta Tuesday. The curbs will not apply to holders of work permits, diplomats and other official visitors, she said.
The curbs on foreign citizens is the latest in a raft of measures taken by Indonesia to combat the deadly virus that’s sickened more than 1,400 people and killed 122. President Joko Widodo’s administration previously banned flights to and from mainland China and some of the virus-hit regions in Italy, South Korea and Iran. The president on Monday ordered stricter implementation of social distancing and health quarantine amid calls for a lockdown to contain the pandemic.
Indonesia Plans to Limit People’s Movement to Combat Virus
Jokowi, as Widodo is known, has also ordered officials to step up screening of Indonesian workers returning from overseas to prevent the virus from spreading further. Thousands of workers have been returning from neighboring Malaysia by sea and more residents working in cruise ships may also be coming back soon, the president said.
The government also plans to mobilize volunteers to fight the spread of coronavirus in coastal villages and the vast hinterlands of the archipelago with part of a $4.4 billion rural budget to be used to fund the initiative, said Eko Sri Haryanto, an official at the Ministry of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration.
(Updates with plans to form village squads in final paragraph)
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