Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands (ANTARA) - Riau Islands Governor Ansar Ahmad confirmed that the travel bubble scheme with Singapore, earlier planned for October 2021, had been cancelled following a spike in COVID-19 cases in the city-state.

"The number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore remains high," Governor Ahmad stated while divulging the reason behind the scheme cancellation in Tanjungpinang on Wednesday.

The Riau Islands administration is looking to attract domestic tourists to the province, pending the central government's decision to resume the travel bubble scheme between the province and Singapore in future, he stated.

The provincial government has sent an official letter to the Home Affairs Ministry and the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) proposing relaxation on the COVID-19 test certificate requirement to perform the inter-province trip.

The province suggested that the related authorities recognise the more affordable and convenient COVID-19 antigen test certificate at par with the COVID-19 PCR test currently being the only recognised certificate for the inter-province trip.

"This is to attract domestic tourists to Riau Islands Province, as they no longer need to set aside a significant cost from their travel budget only to undergo COVID-19 PCR test," the governor explained.

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Meanwhile, tourism spots in the province have been reopened following an improvement in the activities restriction enforcement (PPKM) ranking to level 1, Ahmad remarked.

He ensured that Riau Islands' tourism areas, such as Lagoi in Bintan District, had implemented strict health protocols to ensure visitors' safety and health and also prevent the surfacing of COVID-19 infection clusters.

"We support the Lagoi tourism area to attract domestic tourists, as we are awaiting the government's decision on the travel bubble with Singapore for tourism and economic recovery in our region," Governor Ahmad remarked.

Despite the region's PPKM status at level 1, Ahmad has urged residents to remain disciplined to observe health protocols in the province.

"We should continue to abide by the health protocols to prevent another COVID-19 infection wave from occurring in our region," Ahmad remarked.

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Translator: Ogen, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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