Local News

Bali adds stricter screening measures for visitors

Bali will remain open to domestic tourism for the time being, as officials announce stricter screening measures for incoming visitors following a surge in COVID-19 cases on the island.

“I don’t think we would want to open Bali for tourism without limits […] So we will be placing limitations,” Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan said on Friday.

He reaffirmed several aspects that Bali Governor Wayan Koster had previously announced, such as limitations on religious ceremonies and other crowded gatherings, and the reinstatement of prior restrictions on public activities.

“So tourism activities for the next two weeks will be reduced, [but] not entirely closed like before. So that the economy can still move,” Luhut said, adding that visitors from outside of Bali are subject to mandatory rapid tests.

Bali reported 121 additional COVID-19 cases yesterday, bringing the provincial tally to 7,749. The popular holiday destination has recorded a significant caseload surge this month, following the loosening of restrictions and tourist attractions returning to normal operations in July.

I Gusti Ngurah Mahardika, virologist and professor at Udayana University, previously 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 would have to be given assistance, and the government would need to provide the necessary logistical support.” (Coconuts.co 22/09/2020)

Over 73,000 people in Bali furloughed, 2,500 laid off due to COVID-19 crisis

More than 73,000 people have been furloughed during the COVID-19 crisis in Bali, with another 2,500 having lost their jobs, as the fallout of the coronavirus outbreak continues to take its toll on people’s livelihoods this year.

Bali Governor Wayan Koster reported the latest estimates over the weekend, warning that the numbers will likely increase as the pandemic goes on.
“We are here to report that more than 73,000 people have been furloughed. Over 2,500 were laid off. I figure if the pandemic continues these numbers will also increase,” Koster said.
Koster added that Bali’s tax revenue from hotels and restaurants saw a significant decline, with the example of Badung regency, where popular tourist spots Kuta and Seminyak is located, being one of the worst affected.

The governor said that Badung normally earns between IDR200 billion (US$13.4million) and IDR400 billion, but had only reported revenue of around IDR6 billion (US$403,000) before July. The reopening of Bali to domestic tourism on July 31, however, was perceived as helpful on that front, as the regency reported revenue of around IDR11.5 billion last month.

Bali has taken the biggest economic hit in Indonesia from the pandemic, with the central bank reporting a contraction of 10.98 percent in the province for the second quarter of this year. (Coconuts.co 20/09/2020)

‘COVID-19 is real’, govt says as public denial persists

A recent survey by the Health Ministry has found that many citizens do not believe that COVID-19 exists and that many have challenged the call to adhere to health protocols, the national COVID-19 task force has said.

In response, the task force has formed so-called “behavioral change” units. They consist of members of the community, the military and local administrations and seek to raise public awareness about the dangers of COVID-19.

National COVID-19 task force head Doni Monardo said the initiative would be tested first in Jakarta, a hotbed of coronavirus contagion, before being brought to other regions. At least five behavioral change units consisting of a total of 100 volunteers have been deployed in five subdistricts of the capital to inform people about the virus and reinforce the need to adhere to health protocols.

“If the initiative works, we will develop it in other regions as well,” Doni said during a meeting with the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

“COVID-19 is real and has claimed nearly a million of lives globally.” Doni did not reveal the details of the Health Ministry survey he cited during the meeting.

Indonesia has recorded nearly 10,000 fatalities and 252,923 total cases as of Tuesday.

“If some people deny the presence of COVID-19 [and neglect health measures], transmission will continue,” Doni said. Some Indonesian citizens, including public figures, have endorsed conspiracy theories about the pandemic. (Thejakartapost.com 23/09/2020).

New Bali Toll Road From Gillimanuk To Denpasar To Start Construction In 2021

Construction will start in 2021 on a new Bali toll Road from Gillimanuk to Denpasar, Governor Koster has announced.

The central Government is planning to build another toll road in Bali through Ministry Of Public Works. It’s in line with President Joko Widodo’s vision for Indonesia development by building quality transportation infrastructure. The toll road connect Gilimanuk and Mengwi, to solve congestion problems that vehicle traffic has been facing for years.

The current road from the ferry to Denpasar is 127 km and takes a minimum of 3.5 hours if traffic is ok.  The new toll road will be 95 km and the construction will be divided in 3 different stages. The first stage to be built is from Pekutatan to Soka which is 20 km long, because it’s the most congested area. The second stage is from Soka to Mengwi, and the last one is from Gilimanuk to Pekutatan.

“The first stage of construction can be started in 2021, so the toll road from Pekutatan to Soka and will be completed in 2022. This would have a big impact for a better logistic distribution across Bali,” said Governor I Wayan Koster.
The Bali Provincial government also has a plan to build another toll road that would connect Mengwi and Blahbatuh, Gianyar in the future.

Indonesia Minister of Public Works, Basuki Hadimuljono said that the total cost is estimated around IDR 14 trillion (USD 950 million) and will be fully funded by private investors.
They’re quite confident about their investment, because the lane has a high traffic rate with many trucks and cars, giving a high Internal Return Rate (IRR) for the project. “We will also provide a separate motorbike’s lane, and we’ve already prepared the regulation for that.” Basuki added. (thebalisun.com 21/09/2020)

Bali’s Ngurah Rai, Incheon collaborate to boost air travel confidence

State-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I (API) has announced its collaboration with South Korea’s Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) regarding the implementation of the safe corridor initiative (SCI) at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali.

AP I president director Faik Fahmi said in a statement that the cooperation signed on Sept. 10 aimed to boost confidence among the public to travel by air as well as boost the country’s tourism and economy. Incheon is the world’s first airport to receive the Airport Council International’s Airport Health Accreditation.

The SCI is an alliance of airport managements initiated by the IIAC that aims to maintain their members’ operational reliability through implementation of several health and security criteria, and help the aviation industry recover by building a positive perception among airport service users.

IIAC president and CEO Bon-Hwan Koo said Ngurah Rai was chosen as the first airport to implement the SCI program because it was one of the biggest airports in Indonesia and the most visited airport by Korean tourists.

As part of the collaboration, the IIAC will assess Ngurah Rai airport on inventory management, trained human resources, health communication, epidemic prevention and protocols and procedures such as competence related to departure and arrival. If all goes well, the IIAC will issue an SCI certificate and approval for the airport to become a member of the SCI.

As a result of the pandemic, Ngurah Rai airport served just 8,829 passengers in May, which increased to 19,816 in June. Following a relaxation of air travel restrictions, it saw the number rise to 77,472 in July and 172,721 in August.

“We’re confident our COVID-19 prevention health protocols that have been implemented in all our airports, including Ngurah Rai, will fulfill the criteria required by the SCI guidelines. The SCI certification will then complement the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Safe Travel stamp that we already received,” said Faik. “All these efforts aim to convince the public that AP I airports have implemented global-standard health protocols and encourage [our customers] to no longer worry about doing air travel.” (Thejakartapost.com 15/09/2020)

KEMBALI20: Kevin Kwan, Oka Rusmini, Eka Kurniawan, and other great speakers you should see during ‘Rebuild Bali’ virtual festival

There’s no denying that our world looks starkly different today compared to last year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t engage in thought-provoking discussions from the safety and comfort of our homes amid this pandemic, right?

Well, for those of us who were looking forward to the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) or Ubud Food Festival (UFF) in 2020, their organizers have created a virtual alternative this year, titled KEMBALI20: A Rebuild Bali Festival, which will take place from Oct. 29 to Nov. 8.

The full lineup and programs for the event, which is set to “bring together the most successful elements of UWRF and UFF,” was announced recently, featuring some pretty exciting speakers including renowned Singaporean-American writer behind Crazy Rich Asians,Indonesia’s own literary stars Eka Kurniawan and Dee Lestari, and not to mention talks that are closer to home for those of us in Bali, ranging from flourishing citizen journalism to preserving local folklore.

With over 60 digital sessions across 11 days, you are quite spoilt for choice, so Coconuts Bali is here with a rundown of the sessions that, in our humble opinion, you should not miss out on during Kembali.