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Indonesia’s govt Govt tightens rules on Bali visitors

Passengers wear masks in the arrival hall of Bali's Denpasar airport. CREDIT: AMILIA ROSA. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

JAKARTA, Sep 21, 2020, The Jakarta Post. Authorities will impose stricter screening measures on visitors to Bali amid an increasing number of COVID-19 cases on the resort island, The Jakarta Post reported.

Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said the measures would be enforced for the next two weeks. “We don’t want to just uncontrollably open Bali for tourism. People wanting to visit the island will be required to undergo strict testing,” Luhut said during a teleconference on Friday.

The minister is among several officials tasked by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo with handling COVID-19 in several provinces with high case numbers and fatalities, including Bali. The resort island saw a significant increase in confirmed cases following the reopening of tourism for domestic visitors in late July.

According to data from the Bali administration, the province recorded more than 1,600 new cases in the past few weeks, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 7,543 as of Friday. The number of fatalities has almost doubled from 100 on Sept. 4 to 199 on Friday.

Nationwide, health authorities recorded 3,891 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the official tally to 236,519. More than 9,300 people have succumbed to the disease so far. Since opening its doors to domestic travelers, Bali has seen an increase in tourist arrivals. Bali Tourism Agency acting head Cok Raka Darmawan revealed that 2,500 to 3,000 domestic tourists had arrived every day at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar in August.

The government has canceled a plan to reopen the resort island to international tourists on Sept. 11. The pandemic has dealt a hard blow to Bali’s economy, which relies heavily on tourism. The province’s economy contracted by 10.98 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2020, and thousands of people in the tourism sector have lost their jobs.

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