Bali will remain open to domestic tourism for the time being, as officials announce stricter screening measures for incoming visitors following a surge in COVID-19 cases on the island.
“I don’t think we would want to open Bali for tourism without limits […] So we will be placing limitations,” Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan said on Friday.
He reaffirmed several aspects that Bali Governor Wayan Koster had previously announced, such as limitations on religious ceremonies and other crowded gatherings, and the reinstatement of prior restrictions on public activities.
“So tourism activities for the next two weeks will be reduced, [but] not entirely closed like before. So that the economy can still move,” Luhut said, adding that visitors from outside of Bali are subject to mandatory rapid tests.
Bali reported 121 additional COVID-19 cases yesterday, bringing the provincial tally to 7,749. The popular holiday destination has recorded a significant caseload surge this month, following the loosening of restrictions and tourist attractions returning to normal operations in July.
I Gusti Ngurah Mahardika, virologist and professor at Udayana University, previously suggested that Bali ought to temporarily close and be placed under lockdown, much like it did at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.
“The ideal condition to suppress the number of COVID-19 cases would be under lockdown, close Bali temporarily, limit people’s movement, permitting leaving the house only for very important purposes, such as looking for food, medicine, and the likes,” Ngurah said.
“Poorer members of the public would have to be given assistance, and the government would need to provide the necessary logistical support.”