We have instructed the immigration authority to tighten surveillance measures by collaborating with related agencies
Padang, W Sumatra (ANTARA) - The Indonesian immigration authorities have stepped up surveillance of international travelers arriving in West Sumatra province to halt Omicron spread, a government official said on Tuesday.

"We have instructed the immigration authority to tighten surveillance measures by collaborating with related agencies," head of the Law and Human Rights Ministry's West Sumatra Office, R.Andika Dwi Prasetya, said.

Speaking to local journalists here on Tuesday, he informed that immigration officials will check travelers' complete travel documents, health condition, and electronic health alert cards (E-HAC).

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The E-HAC of travelers can be checked using the PeduliLindungi application, he informed, adding that the immigration authorities will also focus on foreigners arriving in Indonesia and traveling to West Sumatra.

"We do this because we want to ensure that all foreign travelers coming to West Sumatra are in good health. This is also our effort to protect our people," he said.

ANTARA had reported earlier that Indonesia's first Omicron case was announced by Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin on December 16, 2021.

The first person to be infected with the new variant was a janitor working at Wisma Atlet Kemayoran emergency hospital for COVID-19, he stated.

The case was detected after three workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19, he noted.

In response to the detection of the first Omicron case, President Joko Widodo had urged people to stay calm.

"It is important to be vigilant, but do not panic," he emphasized while adding that the Omicron variant had not been known to cause severe symptoms, especially in vaccinated patients.

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He also urged Indonesians to get vaccinated without delay to protect themselves and to continue implementing strict health protocols.

To stem the spread of the new variant of COVID-19, a senior legislator urged the Indonesian government to increase surveillance at international travel entry points at airports across the country.

"Omicron cases have been found in Indonesia. Hence, we need to remain on alert at our travel entry points, especially our international airports," Saleh Partaonan Daulay said.

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Translator: Laila S, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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