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BALI PLANNED TO REOPEN TO INTERNATIONAL TOURISM

Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, Bali’s vice-governor and former chair of island’s hotel and restaurant association says,” The Covid-19 pandemic is the most devastating disaster for Bali tourism, it is much worse than the Bali bombings, both the first and the second, and worse than all the Mount Agung eruptions combined.”

According to a report of August 18,among a population of over 270 million, there are around 2,000 cases per day. But expert says both cases and deaths are under reported.

“I think we can be certain that the numbers are an underestimate,” says Panji Hadisoemarto, an epidemiologist at Indonesia’s Padjadjaran University.

“We’re not testing enough people and we know for sure that quite a lot of asymptomatic cases or cases with very mild symptoms may go undetected.”

World Health Organization recommends minimum of 5% rate but nationally,around 13% of tests return a positive result.

“We have seen from experience that reopening tourism destinations usually leads to an increase in the number of cases,” says Hadisoemarto. “There’s always a risk that tourists will bring in Covid-19 to Bali and be a source of transmission within Bali. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bali saw an increase again.”

Bali originally planned on opening for tourism on September 11 but it did not recieve green signal from government,therefore the coordinating minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, has announced to local media that Indonesia will not open to tourists until at least the end of 2020.

There are intimidating hurdles which are to be addressed before Bali’s reopening date, whether it is September 11 or December 31.

“Even if Bali is open for international tourism, then we’re talking about international travel to Indonesia,” says Hadisoemarto. “So it’s a matter of international trust for reopening flight connections.”

In another interview, Koster explained that after speaking with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bali will delay its reopening until 2021 in line with the Government of Indonesia.

Observing an increase in COVID-19 cases as well high death rate in Indonesia, the Indonesian government will not allow foreign tourists explained Koster.

An official press release signed by the Governor of Bali also confirmed the news. “The situation in Indonesia is not yet conducive to allow foreign tourists to visit Indonesia, including Bali.”

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