Indonesia and the Battle Against Covid-19

In our final part of our series looking at the response to the Covid-19 pandemic from South-East Asia countries and the impact on tourists. Today it is Indonesia. Click on the links to read posts on Vietnam Thailand Cambodia Malaysia Singapore and the Philippines.

This article was updated on 3rd August.

Don’t forget to check out our Covid-19 Travel Insurance Guide if you are planning to travel or book your next trip.

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The country has the world’s fourth highest population of more than 273 million people, living on more than 17,500 islands over 1.8 million square km (699,451 square miles).


No reported cases of Covid-19 were reported until March despite being surrounded by countries that had reported cases and travellers arriving from infected countries. A number of health experts warned that Indonesia was ill prepared for an outbreak and that the lack of testing and testing capabilities probably meant that there were undetected cases within the population.

The first confirmed case in the country was on 2nd March and cases slowly began to increase following what became known as the Jakarta Outbreak. A British citizen in Bali became the first confirmed death in Indonesia on 11th March although it is likely that there were deaths prior to this.

Indonesia has recorded 10,972 deaths from 295,499 confirmed cases (2nd October). They have reported 70,237 have recovered. The latest statistics are available on our COVID-19 and South East Asia page.

The Response from Indonesia

Indonesia implemented a classification system to identify Covid-19 cases that included; Suspect, Probable, Confirmed and Close-contact, additional classifications included; Recovered and Deaths.

They also introduced a scoring system to identify regions and the severity of the outbreak in the area. Any regions who were assigned a Red Zone classification would see large scale local restrictions put in place.

Visitors from a number of countries were banned from Indonesia in early March in the hope that the use of thermal scanners would help to identify anyone entering the country with symptoms. This was later extended to parts of the rail system and some schools and shopping malls. However it was later admitted that the attempt to control people entering the country with symptoms had not been a success and foreign visitors were banned from entering the country from 2nd April.


On 13th April the situation was declared a “National Disaster” after the death toll rose to almost 300 people. The COVID-19 Response Acceleration Task Force was established on the same day to coordinate efforts against the pandemic.

Lockdowns and restrictions were placed in many regions with decision making being made by local representatives based on local knowledge and infection.

Indonesia has seen more deaths of babies and children than most countries with reports stating that more than 200 young children had died from the virus. The country already had a higher than average mortality rate among children often linked to malnutrition, diarrhoea, tuberculosis and pneumonia. It is thought that many children were brought to medical facilities too late to be be helped due to their parents fears over the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Current Situation

On 17th July a hospital in Jayapura City had to close until 31st July after 52 out of 200 hospital staff tested positive for Covid-19.

Despite continuing high levels of new cases, Indonesia has started to re-open many national and nature parks to local and foreign tourists, although with reduced numbers and additional health protocols. They will close individual parks again if an outbreal occurs in the local area.


The FCO currently advises against all but essential travel to Indonesia and entry is prohibited to foreign nationals unless they hold a valid residency permit. Anyone returning to the UK from Indonesia must self-isolate for 14 days.

Economic Effects

The government has made a pledge of IDR 695.2 trillion (£41.7 billion) to help businesses and social assistance during the pandemic although it is finding it difficult to get to many areas due to administrative delays.

Indonesia implemented a pre-employment training program designed to get people ready for new jobs following the pandemic. So far the country has trained about 680,000 and more training is planned from the end of July.

Talk to us

Do you have any experience of how Indonesia or other South-East Asian countries reacted to Covid-19 or where you in country at the time of the outbreak. Let us know your thoughts and experiences.

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