Returning from Japan to Indonesia through Garuda Airline PCR/SWAB Test
My name is Fajar Purnama and I just finished my 5 years study of Masters and Doctorate in Kumamoto University Japan under International Joint Education Program (IJEP) funded by Monbukagakusho (MEXT) scholarship. It was time for me to return to my home country Indonesia and the procedure is different that usual due to COVID-19 pandemic.
28th September 2020
- 16:00 Depart to Kumamoto Torichotsuji Bus Station.
- 16:30 Depart from Kumamoto to Fukuoka.
- 18:30 Arrived at Fukuoka and stayed at ENZO apartment.
29th September 2020
- 07:00 Check-in at Fukuoka Airport.
- 08:00 Flew to Haneda Airport
- 09:45 Arrived at Haneda Airport, filled in PCR test form, and check-in.
- 11:45 Flew to Jakarta.
- 17:30 Arrived at Jakarta, filled in health form, series of health check, and long waiting hours for quarantine destination.
- 21:00 Depart for Swiss-belhotel Airporthub, filled in hotel paper form and online PCR/SWAB test form, perform PCR test, and check-in hotel.
30th September 2020
- 01:00 PCR/SWAB test and check-in hotel.
- 02:00 Quarantine in room and received dinner few minutes later.
- 07:00 Received breakfast.
- 12:00 Received lunch.
- 22:00 Called to receive PCR/SWAB test result.
- 23:00 Received PCR/SWAB test result, check-out quarantine room, released from quarantine, check-in new room, re-schedule flight and proceed independently.
1st October 2020
- 14:00 In airport, validate PCR/SWAB result, download and filled electronic health alert card (eHAC) Indonesia, and check-in.
- 16:00 Flew to Denpasar.
- 19:30 Arrived at Denpasar, showed eHAC Indonesia, got baggages, and drove to my house.
- 21:00 Arrived at house and started self independent quarantine for 14 days.
The Flight Route
Usually I bought the average Korean or Singapore Air ticket to go straight to Bali but at the time of writing this report, the only international airports opened are in the Capital City of Jakarta using Garuda Indonesia where all must go through here before going to other Indonesian regions. My flight is Fukuoka > Haneda > Jakarta > Denpasar which costs JPY 127720 and thanks to MEXT scholarship for covering the cost and both international student office and travel agency for handling the matter.
Before proceeding, I needed a health certificate from any clinic to proceed with every checkins. Without that, I do not know whether things can proceed smoothly or not. Maybe I would have been able to proceed without one but will be complicated. Normally, booking before one week of health check is required in almost every clinics.
Once I started the trip, I have to comply with the global COVID-19 procedure which are:
- Sanitize yourself like washing your hand with sanitizer and take a shower.
- Always wear a face mask.
- Keep social or physical distancing between people.
Personal advice which for myself is far more important than all the global COVID-19 procedure is stay healthy, stay fit, and anything else to improve your immune system. Other than exercising, I practice breathing techniques, meditation, and Chinese cultivation techniques. Lastly, always rest when you are tired where on this pandemic is dangerous to overwork.
Once I reached international flight in Haneda, I was already given a form about PCR/SWAB test. If you already have a negative test result within 72 hours, then all is well where you do not need to worry, but for my case I have to go to either Fukuoka or Tokyo and costs ranging Japanese Yen (JPY) 20000–50000 (some friends told me JPY 50000) which for me is not worth the travel and cost. Therefore, I chose to do PCR test in Indonesia where back then I was also not sure whether PCR test in Japan is accepted because logically, the probability is still high that I may get infected with the Corona Virus during my travel from Japan to Indonesia. I chose the PCR Test packet provided by Garuda where I paid IDR 1500000 among the three options provided:
- Garuda Airline PCR Test Packet: cost Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) 1500000 and cost for staying at Swissbel Hotel but provides 24 hours test result, solitary quarantine in VIP hotel room, meal provided, and other supports & services.
- Satgas COVID-19 PCR Test in Hotel: free PCR test but pay for the hotel by yourself where most probability will cost more than Garuda Airline’s packet because the free PCR test can take more than 3 days (some says 14 days) where will cost you more in hotel and food. In my opinion, this option is the most luxurious service but only affordable for rich people.
- Satgas COVID-19 PCR Test in Wisma Atlet: this is the last option is you cannot pay for any of the services above where everything is free. Like the second option, the free PCR test can take days and the reason why I did not choose this option is because that the quarantine is 3 people in one room. Previously, I chose this option but changed my mind when I heard that the quarantine is not solitary but 3 people which potentially infects me with the virus eventhough I was healthy before especially when the PCR test can take days.
The flight was just as usual, except for wearing a mask in plane for the whole 7 hours and social distancing seats. When I reached Jakarta, I was given a choice to fill in the paper form or use eHAC Indonesia web or mobile application which is like another health certificate service. If you have a high temperature, you will immediately be quarantined. If you are reading this now and planned to visit Indonesia, I recommend to use the eHAC Indonesia web or mobile application early on because they will ask you to use it throughout your visit in Indonesia.
I saw people who already have negative result PCR test have the privilege of continuing their trip while people who are waiting for PCR test waited for hours to be carried to the quarantine area based on their choices. I waited from around 18:30–21:30 probably because they do not have enough man power and transportation to handle the large amount of travelers centralized to Jakarta. The police, military soldiers, and staffs lined us up before going through customs. Those with children have the privilege of being served first. After that, we were accompanied to a bus and departed to our quarantined destination.
After 15 minutes of bus travel, we still have to wait long minutes before we can go the lobby because it is full with the previous batch of travelers. While in the bus, we are asked to fill a form to book at the hotel and online PCR test form. Once it is our turn to wait at the lobby, we queued for the PCR test payment. I was among the last which took me another long minutes. The payment can be made with cash, debit card, credit card, or online banking transfer. I did not have enough IDR cash and I was unfortunate to have my Bank Central Asia (BCA) debit card expired but luckily I have online banking where I can transfer to . If you have non above and carried foreign cash, an exchange is available there, although they are certified money changer but I am not sure whether you can get a good rate or not. After payment, I queued again for PCR/SWAB test. Only after the test, I was allowed to check-in the hotel, pay IDR 650000 in cash and go to my quarantined room. Other than cash, they provide payment in debit and credit card.
When I reached my room, they warned me to never leave the room until the test result came out. At first, me and a friend of mine was worried because we are not allowed to order any food from outside and nobody picked up the hotel restaurant phone call. I was prepared to starve for the whole night but then, a meal came which made me remember a slight memory that in the bus they told us that we will get a meal in the room. The meal does not have the best taste but I still liked it because it looked healthy. After that, I enjoyed the VIP room facility.
We got another breakfast and lunch. Few hours after regular dinner time, I got hungry because the meal never came. It turned out almost midnight, they knocked the door and told me to get the PCR/SWAB test. Another long minutes queue, I got the negative test result. My original domestic flight was still 3 days away but I contacted Garuda Airline Hotline Ticketing via Whatsapp and was able to fast forward my flight to tomorrow evening. This means that I have to stay another night in Jakarta but I am not allowed to stay in the same room because that is a room specifically for quarantine. Therefore, I have to checkout and cost me another IDR 300000 because the test result came out long after the checkout time that day, and book another room. Luckily I have a friend so we can book a twin bed room for the two of us which costs IDR 700000 and the previous IDR 300000 checkout is applicable to only one of us, therefore for each of us cost only another IDR 500000. Now we are allowed to buy foods from outside which we immediately bought because we were hungry that the time is already pass midnight.
After this, we are released from their care, and proceeded to domestic terminal. Before we are allowed to check-in, we must go to a counter specifically for validating our PCR/SWAB test and it is here that they told us that from this point on that must use the web or mobile eHAC Indonesia application. Finally we are allowed to check-in and after that we still need show our PCR/SWAB test on each security post.
Self Independent 14 Days Quarantine in Denpasar
During landing, I was asked to show the eHAC Indonesia application. After that, everything is finished, got baggages and stuffs and return to my house. Based on the test result document, I am asked no never leave my house for 14 days which I called self independent quarantine. Though my friend does not care about that, but I think depends on the region. If the people does not care then no problem, if people report then that is a problem, if during this period I go out and cause infection to others then is my fault because I was supposed to be quarantined for 14 days. What did I do during this period? Well one of them is writing this report and to survive I very recommend to be online service literate such as performing online payments and knowing how to use online deliveries if you need stuffs. I have many digital wallets for cashless payments and for ordering foods and items online, I have online banking if I need to transfer, and I have Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for managing my wealth and participate in global investments.