Passengers form long queues to take antigen rapid tests in Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport


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Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport has not been spared from long queues following Indonesia’s new (and rushed) travel requirement for the year-end holiday. In the days since it was enforced, passengers ended up forming long lines to take the antigen rapid tests prior to their trips.
Several videos from this morning alone are already making their rounds on Instagram, showing passengers waiting in line for the antigen rapid tests. Some of the clips show the absence of social distancing between passengers, and some wrote on their posts that they’ve been waiting for hours just to get queue numbers for the actual test.
On Dec. 19, the National COVID-19 Task Force enforced a new regulation for all travelers, including those traveling by air, to present the negative result of an antigen rapid test that must be taken at most three days prior to departure. The rule applies to all trips into and within Java and Bali, with one notable exception being that air travelers heading to the Island of the Gods must present a negative PCR test result, which is valid for seven days.
The new rules were laid out in a circular, which set the Christmas and New Year break period to begin on Dec. 19 and last until Jan. 8. It should be noted, however, that Bali provincial government’s circular on the matter, first issued on Dec. 15 and later modified that same week, stated that the requirements are applicable until Jan. 4.
These last-minute restrictions also led to long queues forming in Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport yesterday morning, with travelers alleging that airport staff were not ready for the turnout.
The antigen rapid test, also known as antigen swab test, is conducted by taking samples of secretions from the nose and throat to detect the presence of certain viral antigens that indicate a current viral infection. According to reports, the antigen rapid test at Ngurah Rai costs IDR170K (US$12), and results can be obtained in an hour.
This type of test is more expensive than the antibody rapid test, but cheaper than the PCR swab test, which costs about IDR900K (US$63). In general, however, the test is not considered to be as accurate as the PCR swab test.
Editor’s Note: The story has been updated to include the Christmas and New Year break period as stated by the Bali provincial government. While Indonesia’s COVID-19 Task Force says it’s between Dec. 19 and Jan. 8, Bali officials previously said it’s between Dec. 19 and Jan. 4.