Thousands of Chinese tourists are reportedly stranded in Bali following a flight restriction for travelers going to and coming from China amid the deadly international outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
According to Bali Vice Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, or Cok Ace, many of them were unaware of Indonesia’s flight suspension, enforced yesterday, and therefore couldn’t adjust their travel plans in time.
“They didn’t know there was an announcement on the flight ban. So they cannot go home,” Cok Ace told Kompas yesterday.
He also said some Chinese tourists are opting to stay on the island over fears of the coronavirus spread in their home country, adding that Indonesian immigration has decided to facilitate these tourists by allowing them to extend their visa.
There are around 3,000 Chinese tourists currently in Bali, as reported by Kompas, though other reports estimated there may be as many as 5,000 currently stuck on the island.
The Bali provincial government says they’re taking a number of precautions to detect possible coronavirus cases on the island. Aside from putting up thermal scanners at the Ngurah Rai International Airport, Cok Ace says authorities are also keeping arriving Chinese tourists under surveillance for two weeks.
The novel coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, has now killed more than 560 people and infected over 28,000, according to latest reports from China’s various health committees. It has also spread to nearly 30 other countries, including Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong, where it is spreading locally. There has not been a single confirmed case on Indonesian soil thus far.