Police in Bali’s Jembrana regency arrested three people in connection with alleged sale of fake statements of good health, which have reportedly been used by passengers to cross to Java from Gilimanuk Port.
“We have arrested three people and will announce the case [today]. They are still being investigated further in Gilimanuk,” Ketut Gede Adi Wibawa, who heads Jembrana Police, said yesterday.
A photo of an allegedly fake medical letter circulated widely on social media this week, prompting concerns that people are now able to bypass the travel restrictions that were put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19. The fake letter appears to be using a letterhead from the Community Health Center (Puskesmas) in West Denpasar.
Jual beli surat keterangan sehat palsu terjadi di pelabuhan Gilimanuk, Bali.
Hal serupa tidak menutup kemungkinan terjadi di tempat lain.
Kalau sudah begini, kapan pandemi mau cepat berakhir? pic.twitter.com/kNO9tzyiXS
— Blognya Seorang Dokter (@blogdokter) May 13, 2020
One passenger, identified as Tofik, said that an urgent matter forced him to make the purchase.
“I bought it at Gilimanuk. I didn’t want to buy it at first, but I had to go home [to Java], so I paid IDR100,000 [US$6.71]. It’s being sold for around IDR250,000 to IDR300,000 per letter,” Tofik told Tribun.
Initially, port authorities did not permit Tofik to board the ship to Java as he did not have the required statement of good health. He was then offered help by someone who looked like a motorcycle taxi driver, who told Tofik that he could procure him the letter for IDR250,000. Tofik haggled the price down and eventually made the purchase the next day.
“My situation forced me to buy this, and it’s not just me. Many other travelers bought it too. It was better than returning to Denpasar [to get the official letter], so [we] just get it there,” Tofik was quoted as saying.
It takes about three to four hours by car to travel between Gilimanuk Port, located in Jembrana, to Denpasar.
Bali has yet to implement the central government’s Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) protocol, but has increased restrictions in various ports across the island and the Ngurah Rai International Airport. Travelers are subject to extreme monitoring and required to present a statement of health to authorities. Only those with logistics purposes, health and COVID-19-related matters, or “extremely important” personal reasons are allowed travel as part of an effort to curb the coronavirus outbreak.
Read more news and updates from Bali here.
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