The new travel requirement for the year-end holiday has resulted in a long queue for the antigen rapid test at Soekarno-Hatta Airport this morning, with travelers alleging that airport staff were not ready for the turnout.
According to reports, passengers arrived early in the morning to take their tests at the airport, even when their flights were scheduled for departure later in the day.
A passenger identified as Dimas told CNN Indonesia that the queue at Terminal 2 "snaked" all the way to the airport skytrain station. He arrived at the terminal at around 6am, before deciding to go home and return in the evening.
"The officers might not have been ready because [the requirement for antigen rapid test] was rushed. They gave the queue numbers using a pen, wrote the numbers down, and they gave them to the passengers one by one. Then at around 7:30am police came to regulate the queues," Dimas said.
Another passenger named Kevin told the same outlet that many people around his line arrived since dawn, adding that that the process wasn't clear while also alleging that airport staff didn't seem sufficiently prepared for the large number of passengers.
A police officer on duty told Kompas that the number of passengers taking the antigen rapid test at the airport today was the most he'd seen.
Indonesia's COVID-19 Task Force on Saturday enforced a new regulation for all travelers, including those traveling by air, in Java to present the negative result of an antigen rapid test that must be taken at most three days prior to departure. The rule is applicable during the year-end holiday period beginning on Dec. 19.
Wiku Adisasmito, the task force's spokesman, said the requirement will last until Jan. 8 for those traveling between cities, regions, and provinces within Java island.
The antigen rapid test, also known as the 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.
The antigen swab test, which is widely available for around IDR250K (US$17.61), is more expensive than the antibody rapid test, but it's cheaper than the PCR swab test and is said to be able to detect the coronavirus in just 15 minutes. In general, however, the test is not considered to be as accurate as the PCR swab test.