Bali to restore stronger restrictions following surge in COVID-19 cases

Bali Governor Wayan Koster during a press conference in August. Photo: Bali Provincial Government
Bali Governor Wayan Koster during a press conference in August. Photo: Bali Provincial Government

Bali Governor Wayan Koster today urged for stricter adherence to health protocols following a worrying rise of COVID-19 cases on the island lately, with the province bringing back restrictions on activities like the ones that were implemented in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak.

“This circular intends to … ensure there are no new COVID-19 cases in Bali by strengthening prevention and control efforts across different sectors,” a circular issued today, signed by the governor, reads. 

Bali has been reporting more than 100 cases daily for about two weeks, though that number has considerably decreased so far this week. The latest data shows 63 new cases today, bringing the provincial tally to 7,492. 

Koster called on regional leaders, businesses, civil societies, and members of the public to “join hands and work together” in raising awareness and educating communities with matters related to COVID-19 prevention and precaution.

The circular lays out limitations on religious ceremonies and other crowded gatherings, as well as reinstating prior restrictions on public activities. Government and private offices are only allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity, whereas students are expected to study from home. 

Bali is still open to domestic tourism for the time being, although officials have already started to place limitations on tourist attractions and public facilities that often invite crowds, such as Lapangan Puputan in Denpasar.

The governor also called for better contact tracing, testing, and stricter quarantine for confirmed patients. Increasing medical treatment capacity, including adding treatment rooms dedicated for COVID-19 patients, preparing emergency hospitals, and providing shelters for health workers are all deemed to be essential steps to combat the crisis.

This latest update from the Bali Provincial Government is set to restore restrictions that were previously implemented at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, before Bali restarted activities on the island and welcomed visitors from other parts of Indonesia in July.

One notable difference from those earlier days would be the mandatory mask rule, wherein individuals are subject to a fine of IDR100,000 (US$6.74) should they fail to wear masks outside of their homes. The regulation briefly hit a wall after some regents refused enforcement, but Koster recently said the matter has since been resolved.

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