Bali gov’t relaxes PCR test requirement for air travelers visiting Bali amid public backlash

Photo for illustration purpose only. Photo: Unsplash
Photo for illustration purpose only. Photo: Unsplash

There is such a thing as holiday stress in this life, and if you’re one with plans to travel to Bali for Christmas and the New Year, the recent changes to travel requirements may have caused you a little more than a headache.

After announcing a pretty last-minute PCR swab test requirement for those coming to Bali via air earlier this week, which was set to be enforced today, officials yesterday announced a modified set of rules following widespread public backlash.

Dewa Made Indra, regional secretary of the Bali administration, said that the swab test requirement will be enforced starting tomorrow instead. Air travelers can now obtain a PCR test result within seven days of entering Bali instead of just two days.

“This means if a person already has their PCR test results three, four, five, six, and seven days before departing [to Bali], it will be permitted, as long as it is valid … So [the rules have been] eased here,” Indra said.

From tomorrow until Jan. 4, 2021, all air travelers must present negative PCR test results, while travelers who use other modes of transportation are expected to present negative antigen rapid test results. Under the modified version, children below 12 years of age are not required to present any test results. 

The new requirement, first announced by the Bali provincial government on Tuesday, led to a reported mass request for plane ticket refunds, which amounted to IDR317 billion (US$22.4 million) as of Wednesday. Bali Deputy Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati said that the government decided upon the new rules to prevent a surge of COVID-19 cases in the province with the upcoming year-end holiday, as officials gear up to potentially reopen foreign tourism next year.


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