Bali officials tightening health protocols at tourist destinations ahead of long weekend

Tourists watching a performance in Bali, pre-pandemic. Photo: Unsplash
Tourists watching a performance in Bali, pre-pandemic. Photo: Unsplash

Officials in Bali say they are strengthening health protocol implementations across various popular destinations as a spike in domestic tourists are expected for next week’s long weekend.

“We are anticipating this long weekend to avoid any new clusters, therefore we must tightly implement health protocols,” Bali’s Tourism Agency chief Putu Astawa said today.

Next Thursday, Oct. 29 is a national holiday in Indonesia commemorating Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, and the government has set Oct. 28 and Oct. 30 as collective leave days, too, making it a five-day long weekend.

Astawa said his office has sent circulars to over 600 operators of tourist attractions ⁠— which officials have verified for their health protocols readiness ⁠— across Bali, expecting them to be more cautious and reminding them that they are only allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity. 

Should these places fail to follow protocol, they may receive a warning or face closure. 

“We will give them one to three warnings. If they carry on [violating protocols], we will close or revoke [their permit],” Astawa said. 

Meanwhile, the province’s Health Agency is also anticipating the possibility of more COVID-19 cases after the long weekend, with the agency’s chief, Ketut Suarjaya, saying that there’s still enough room in Bali’s hospitals and quarantine facilities.

“Even though the data changes every day, it’s clear that isolation rooms in hospitals and quarantine facilities are still adequate,” Suarjaya said. 

Suarjaya said that in total, Bali hospitals now have 1,297 hospital rooms designated for COVID-19 patients, 559 of which are currently filled by both confirmed and suspected patients. This means there are 738 hospital rooms currently available, not counting other facilities designated for quarantine purposes. 

He also said that the province is currently able to test 1,500 specimens under the PCR (swab) method a day, and are working to double that in the near future. 

As of today, Bali has confirmed 11,042 COVID-19 patients, including 353 deaths and 806 currently in treatment.

Read more news and updates from Bali here.

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