Indonesia resumes domestic air travel, coronavirus cases jump

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JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia has resumed domestic flights for all passengers provided airlines operate at 70% capacity and follow strict rules brought into force on Tuesday, when the country announced its biggest daily rise in cases of the novel coronavirus.

Indonesia’s Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said the new regulations for flights followed discussions with airlines, the country’s COVID-19 taskforce and the health ministry.

“Transportation management in the era of the new normal hinges on health aspects,” Sumadi told an online news conference. “We hope that people stay productive, but safe.”

All travellers will be required to wear masks, maintain physical distancing and present a recent health certificate to show they have tested negative for the novel coronavirus, under the regulations that Novie Riyanto, a transport ministry official, told Reuters came into effect on Tuesday.

Flights have been restricted in Indonesia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but in recent weeks migrant workers returning home and those travelling for work in exempt sectors, such as health and security, have been allowed to fly.

The airline Lion Air will resume domestic flights on Wednesday.

The Indonesian capital began easing social restrictions last week, even though coronavirus cases continue to rise across the world’s fourth most populous nation.

Indonesia has recorded 33,076 positive coronavirus infections and 1,923 COVID-19 deaths. On Tuesday, it announced 1,043 new cases, the highest daily increase so far.

Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Stanley Widianto; editing by Kate Lamb and Barbara Lewis