Leading Bali virologist says island should go into lockdown

File photo of a woman walking on a street in Bali. Photo: Pixabay
File photo of a woman walking on a street in Bali. Photo: Pixabay

Bali’s road out of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, which has been marked with a significant caseload and death spikes for more than a week now, would ideally consist of putting the province under lockdown, a leading virologist on the island said. 

I Gusti Ngurah Mahardika, virologist and professor at Udayana University, suggested that Bali ought to temporarily close and be placed under lockdown, much like it did at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak. 

“The ideal condition to suppress the number of COVID-19 cases would be under lockdown, close Bali temporarily, limit people’s movement, permitting leaving the house only for very important purposes, such as looking for food, medicine, and the likes,” Ngurah said. 

“Poorer members of the public must be given assistance, and the government provides necessary logistical support,” he continued.

The province has reported more than 100 fresh cases daily for more than a week now, with today’s addition of 111 cases bringing the total to 6,834. 

While officials have rejected the notion of Bali’s reopening to domestic tourists as one of the contributing factors, data shows that the caseload and death spikes have been reported following the reopening in July. In comparison, relatively low numbers were reported in the months preceding the reopening.

On Aug. 28, for example, the COVID-19 death toll in Bali stood at 60, more than five months since the first coronavirus cases were announced in Indonesia. It has more than doubled in the two weeks since, with today’s data showing a total of 151 deaths. 

Read Also COVID-19 crisis is not under control in Bali: expert

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