Indonesia’s tourism minister reassures FMD outbreak under control amid concerns from Aussies

Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno. Photo: Instagram/@sandiuno
Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno. Photo: Instagram/@sandiuno

As travel concerns rise – particularly from neighboring Australia – following a recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia, the country’s top tourism official has reaffirmed that the situation is under control and it is still safe to travel to the likes of Bali.

Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno earlier this week quoted the Ministry of Health’s statement that the FMD spread in Indonesia remains in check. Sandiaga said his office has prepared steps to respond to the concerns among travelers regarding the livestock disease. 

“We also prepared necessary steps so that FMD cases are isolated and not enter [locations] of the G20 Summit and tourism destinations,” he said in his weekly press briefing, referring to Bali hosting the summit of the intergovernmental forum in November this year.

As previously reported, Indonesia’s FMD outbreak began in May this year – decades after the eradication of the disease in 1986. According to official data, 128 cows in Bali were confirmed to have FMD as of last week. That pales in comparison to the numbers on the national scale, where, as of July 13, 365,146 livestock – mostly cows – have contracted the disease.

Aussie authorities have urged tourists in Bali to remain vigilant when heading back down under, as they may carry the virus that causes the highly-contagious livestock disease into the country, which heavily relies on agriculture.

Some have even urged travelers to leave their shoes behind in Bali, as footwear may come in contact with contaminated soil. 

Minister Sandiaga particularly addressed Australia in his public announcement, stating that his department has communicated their precautionary measures to the neighboring country to reassure them that the disease is under control.

“We communicated our steps to Australia and all of the stakeholders to give a sense of security among travelers,” he said.

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