Update Dec. 18: The Bali provincial government has announced a modified version for the new travel requirements, which have been postponed to start tomorrow, Dec. 19, instead of today, Dec. 18. Read the full story here.
Original story follows below.
The new swab test requirement for domestic travelers is part of a future plan to reopen Bali to foreign tourism next quarter, the province’s deputy governor said, as the government hopes to prevent a surge of COVID-19 cases with the upcoming year-end holiday.
“Our consideration is based on our target to reopen foreign tourism, which is planned for the first quarter of 2021,” Bali Deputy Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati said yesterday.
“If there’s another spike in COVID-19 cases in Bali, then our hopes to reinstill trust that Bali is safe will disappear.”
The Bali provincial government on Tuesday issued a new set of requirements for travelers visiting the popular holiday destination. Starting tomorrow until Jan. 4, 2021, all air travelers must present negative PCR test results, while travelers who use other modes of transport are expected to present negative antigen rapid test results.
The announcement, laid out in a circular and includes other provisions for year-end celebrations, has been met with public backlash and led to a reported mass request for plane ticket refunds, which amounted to IDR317 billion (US$22.4 million) as of yesterday.
Bali province reported 132 new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the provincial tally to 16,012. This includes over 900 patients who are still undergoing treatment, and 476 deaths.