Jakarta – Many travelers at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, are opting to take the gold-standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests as compared with mandatory rapid antigen tests prior to their departures for their hometowns as they want to keep their families safe from COVID-19 infection.
Bayu, 26, who was leaving for Yogyakarta International Airport, said that he preferred to take the Rp 700,000 (US$49.53) PCR test, despite airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II only requiring travelers to undergo the cheaper antigen tests.
He said that he went for the swab test as he wanted to be sure of his negative COVID-19 status before enjoying the year-end holidays with his family members in Sukoharjo, Central Java. Bayu said he did not want to be a spreader to his family and relatives, if he carried the virus.
"I have my grandmother, who is a senior citizen, at home. Not to mention my father, mother and the rest of my family. If I was going home just for a short visit, I might just take the antigen test," Bayu said on Sunday as quoted by kompas.id.
The state-owned company employee said that he planned to vacation in Yogyakarta before returning to home in Sukoharjo.
Like Bayu who joined the line for the swab test at the airport's skytrain shelter on Sunday, Ari, 40, also spent a few hours on the test as he planned to go out of town for a business trip.
Ari, who initially was scheduled to fly on Sunday's 12 p.m. flight to Pontianak, West Kalimantan, made his office reschedule the flight to Monday, because the line for the swab test was too long.
Meanwhile, Abdullah Rajab, 49, who had just arrived at Soekarno-Hatta revealed that the plane he was in did not enforce physical distancing.
"The plane was full without any physical distancing at all," said Abdullah, who arrived from Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, adding that most passengers also lacked discipline in practicing health protocols.
"[The cabin crew] ordered the passengers to leave the plane five at a time, but they did not listen to them," he added.
Abdullah said he had no choice but to come to Jakarta during the peak season as he had to take part in an event. As he was highly concerned about contracting the virus, Abdullah said he packed at least 10 disposable face masks for the trip as a precaution.
He also said that he would take two antigen tests, one prior to departing and one after reaching Mataram. "My wife has also agreed to spend some nights in her parents' house when I return," he added. (nkn)