The long-awaited reopening of Bali to foreign travellers will have to wait a little longer, as Indonesia continues to wrestle with the recent surge of Covid-19 cases.
“We were targeting the end of July, beginning of August, but we just have to be mindful of where we are in this recent spike (in coronavirus cases),” said Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism and the Cultural Economy, Sandiaga Uno, in an interview earlier this month. “We will be waiting for the situation to be more conducive,” he added.
Sandiaga also confirmed that officials are waiting for daily infections to drop to around 30 or 40 per day before considering reopening Bali. At the beginning of July, when the setbacks were first announced, this number was around 200 cases per day.
For the time being, Bali is still considered a red zone, although the current spike in cases is expected to subside in the first weeks of August, as the impact of Indonesia’s Java-Bali movement control restrictions (known locally as PPKM) takes effect. The current number of active cases in Bali is 11,071 people, who are being treated in 17 hospitals and four quarantine facilities.
Bali has been prioritised for government vaccinations and is currently stepping up its inoculation programme. As of 29 July, 18.7% of the local population has been fully vaccinated. While hospital bed occupancy rates are nearing full capacity in neighbouring Java, Bali’s current rate is below 50%. As part of efforts to protect Bali from further delays due to Covid-19, domestic tourists are required to pass a PCR test before entering the island.
It is not yet known when Bali is likely to reopen. But with PPKM restrictions helping to curb the spread of the latest surge and vaccinations continuing at speed, it is hoped that Sandiaga’s criteria will soon be met. For now at least, the wait continues.