Bali delays reopening to foreign tourists following rise in COVID-19 cases
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Anyone hoping to visit the popular Indonesian holiday island of Bali will have to wait a little longer, with foreign tourists still banned from entry for the foreseeable future due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
Earlier this month, Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno had suggested some tourists could be welcomed back as early as July 2021. Unfortunately, the island has seen a recent increase in positive cases, and that date has now been delayed until cases decline significantly. This comes despite very low testing rates, which could mean true cases are significantly higher.
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“We were targeting end of July, beginning of August, but we just have to be mindful of where we are in this recent spike (in coronavirus cases),” Uno said to Reuters. “We will be waiting for the situation to be more conducive.”
Currently, there are about 200 cases per day. Uno said that he wanted to wait until daily cases decreased to 30 or 40 before reopening to tourism.
Bali closed the doors to tourists early on in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and Bali’s governor commented in May 2020 that “a lot of people were very worried that Bali would be badly hit by COVID-19 as it’s the largest tourist destination in Indonesia.”
The island has seen an impressive vaccination rollout already, with more than 70% of locals having already received their first dose, and the same number expected to receive their second dose by the end of July 2021.
Anyone travelling domestically within Indonesia must provide a negative PCR test result before entering Bali in an effort to slow imported cases.
Bali has long been a magnet for all sorts of travellers and has been boosted with dreamy wanderlust images appearing on social media. Its affordable location in southeast Asia has made the island popular with backpackers and budget travellers, and its focus on yoga and other health retreats also attracts those looking for wellness and balance in their travels.
Digital nomads could soon be offered five-year Balinese working visas to attract those who see remote working as a permanent pandemic change.
Featured image by Sutthinon Sanyakup / Getty Images.
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