Local News

Bali Governor issues regulation forbidding new year’s celebrations 

As a result of the rising Covid-19 cases, the Governor of Bali, I Wayan Koster, has issued a decree forbidding new year’s eve celebrations in the province. Strict safety measures are in effect across Bali, and anyone defying government orders will be penalized.

The decree was initiated by the Central Government to prevent large gatherings which can lead to virus transmission during the current pandemic.

The Governor outlined the details of the new regulation during a press conference in Denpasar on Tuesday morning (15/12). “Every person, business or facility planning to celebrate new year’s eve this holiday season will be strictly prohibited to organize any kind of indoor or outdoor event, light up fireworks or consume alcohol in public places,” stated Koster.

The Governor also added that all operating accommodations or tourist attractions must comply with health and safety protocols, including providing hand wash stations, hand sanitizers, wearing masks, maintaining social distance and limiting capacity.

The Government’s Decree number 46 Year 2020 will be in effect from Friday December 18, 2020 until Friday January 4, 2021.

According to the decree, each person or business disobeying the regulation will be penalized based on government policy.

This policy was commenced by the central government due to the rising Covid-19 cases in Indonesia, including Bali. As of Monday December 14, 2020, Bali recorded 77 new cases, resulting in a total 15,150 cases in Bali since the start of the pandemic. (Thebalisuns.com 16/12/2020)


PCR test required for domestic entry into Bali over holidays

In preparing for the influx of tourists expected to enter Bali for the year-end holiday, the Central Government has issued new regulations for domestic travelers upon entry. Effective December 18, all arrivals at Nurah Rai International Airport must provide a negative PCR test result taken no longer than two days prior to departure.

A virtual meeting was held on Monday (14/12) to discuss new Covid-19 prevention measures in Jakarta, West Java, East Java, Central Java and Bali.

The Coordinator of Maritime and Investment Minister, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, stated that PCR tests will be required for travelers entering Bali via air travel. For those entering by land, an antigen test will be required. For approval of entry, all tests must show a negative result completed a maximum of two days prior to departure.

Luhut explained that the new measures must be taken in order to restrain the surge in Covid-19 cases expected for the holiday season. Bali is estimated to receive more than 380 thousand arrivals through the Ngurah Rai International Airport.

As Deputy Chief of the National Covid-19 Handling Task Force and Economic Recovery, Luhut reminds all hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and rest areas in Bali to implement prevention protocols while operating.

The new protocols will be in effect from Friday December 18, 2020 to Friday January 4, 2021.

Following the government’s announcement, many people expressed their disappointment through social media. The reaction derived from the added expenses to travelers, as PCR tests are more costly than rapid tests, and many travelers had prepared a rapid test result prior to the annoucement, as they thought it would be sufficient for entering Bali.

Consequently, some domestic tourists have resorted to canceling their bookings. (Thebalisuns.com 16/12/2020)


Indonesia to roll out first round of vaccines to health workers in Bali, Java islands: minister

Indonesia will prioritize health workers in Bali and Java for the first round of vaccination, the health minister said on Saturday, after the country received its first batch of a coronavirus vaccine candidate from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac about a week ago.

“The first round of vaccination will be for health workers in Java and Bali,” Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto said in a meeting with the House of Representatives (DPR).

The two islands, where about 60 percent of Indonesia’s 267 million population reside, are prioritized due to their high number of COVID-19 cases, officials said.

Despite the arrival of 1.2 million doses of the potential vaccine developed by Sinovac in Indonesia on Dec. 6, the country is still waiting for regulatory approval for the vaccine candidate from the Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency (BPOM).

The efficacy of the vaccine has not yet been determined at this time, with state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma having said in a statement that the interim report from the Phase III trial is expected to be available only in January.

Siti Nadia Tarmizi, the spokeswoman for Indonesia’s COVID-19 vaccination program, said that vaccination can be carried out about two to three weeks after BPOM’s approval. (Coconuts.co 15/12/2020)


7 Indonesian airports including Bali granted approval to receive international flight.

As per the new immigration regulations implemented in Indonesia, authorities continue to limit the number of the arrivals into the country due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Now, after much anticipation and months of ceased international operations, the Indonesian Government is allowing seven national airports to resume international flights.

According to data from the Directorate General of Immigration on Tuesday (8/12), the following airports are retrieving international flights: Kualanamu International Airport Medan, Hang Nadim International Airport Batam, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Jakarta, Juanda International Airport Surabaya, Sam Ratulangi International Airport Manado, Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport Makassar and Ngurah Rai International Airport Bali.

At this time only Indonesian citizens, diplomatic visas, business visas, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) card holders and cargo are allowed entry.

Additionally, Limited Stay Permit Visa (VITAS) holders such as foreign workers, investors, medical assistance workers, trade and other emergency visits will also be granted entry.

Since conducting a readiness check at the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, authorities have specified the entry requirements necessary at this time.

Furthermore, upon approval of entry, visitors must complete the following: Medical confirmation stating that the individual is free from Covid-19, the letter must written in English and issued by authorities from the country of origin, individual is willing to undergo a 14 day quarantine prepared by the Indonesian government or self-isolate under government supervision, prior to arrival, the individual has spent at least 14 days in a Covid-19 exempt area

Upon arrival, airport authorities will conduct an interview to track the visitor’s previous travel records.

Under said protocols, Ngurah Rai International Airport has started receiving tourists from several countries. (Thebalisuns.com 13/12/2020)


Bali airport inspected for readiness to resume international flights

The Deputy Assistant of Tourism Development from Maritime and Investment Ministry, Kosmas Harefa, has inspected Immigration Checkpoints (TPI) at Ngurah Rai International Airport on Tuesday (8/12).

The purpose of the inspection was to confirm readiness as the government is looking to soon resume international tourism in Bali.

During an interview with The Head of (TPI)’s Communication and Information, Putu Suhendra explained that Ngurah Rai International Airport is ready to receive international flights.

All health and safety protocols are set in place. Airport staff is required to wear adequate protection gear, such as face masks, hand sanitizers are readily available at all check points and floor markings are spaced to maintain safe distance between travelers.

Suhendra added that the airport is allowing access to the following: Indonesian citizens, diplomatic visas, business visas, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) card holders and cargo.

Limited Stay Permit Visa (VITAS) holders such as foreign workers, investors, elderly tourists, medical assistance workers, trade and other emergency visits will also be granted entry.

After inspecting the Immigration Checkpoints, Kosmas reviewed the Health Checking and Quarantine House in Ngurah Rai International Airport.

The central government requires all prevention protocols be actively in place before resuming operations. Until now, Ngurah Rai International Airport has only been operating the domestic terminal. All international flights have been transiting at Soekarno Hatta International Airport in Jakarta. (Thebalisuns.com 12/12/2020)


Russian influencer launches off Bali dock on motorcycle in social media stunt, police investigating

A Russian influencer has become the subject of outrage in Bali and throughout Indonesia thanks to his reckless social media stunt, in which he filmed himself launching off a dock in Bali on a motorcycle and plunging into the ocean, with local police saying that they may launch an investigation into the matter.

Last week, the Russian influencer uploaded two videos on Instagram, which showed a stunt he pulled with a female friend in Tanah Ampo Port in Bali’s Karangasem regency. The videos showed him driving a motorcycle with his friend standing with one foot up on the backseat, as he sped up and plunged the bike into the water.

The videos quickly made their rounds across various social media platforms, sparking backlash among most viewers. They criticized the influencer, describing his stunt as both reckless and disrespectful, and further noted the risk of polluting the ocean.

The influencer, who has over 4.8 million followers on Instagram, has now set his account to private. In a comment responding to Balinese designer and politician Niluh Djelantik calling him out, he also explained that he’s apologized to the residents of Bali through Instagram and said that the posts have been deleted.

“I bought the bike, not rented. And we got it out of the ocean 30 minutes after it got there, nothing came out of there, it is not broken. We present it to the locals, they are already using it,” part of the comment reads, where he later noted that he also does charity work to help kids in Bali.

Niluh, for her part, said that even though he has removed the bike from the ocean, he still broke laws in Indonesia.

Indonesia’s environmental protection law prohibits illegal dumping of waste into the environment, and violators could face up to three years in prison and a fine of IDR3 billion (US$213,000).

Tanah Ampo Port is actually closed to the public as it is no longer operational, and police said this morning that they have chided the regional government for allowing members of the public to access the location.

Karangasem Police Chief Ni Nyoman Suartini said that the motorbike was indeed given to a local fisherman, and police have since seized the vehicle for evidence in the ongoing investigation. Suartini added that they are working together with Immigration and officials in Karangasem regency in the case. (Coconuts.co 14/12/2020)


New Bali drive-in event arranged in Jimbaran to boost Badung economy

Activity within the tourism sector of Bali has not shown significant signs of growth since the Covid-19 pandemic began more than nine months ago. In an effort to stimulate progress, the Badung Regency has gotten creative in event planning.

Badung authorities have designed a drive-in event for residents to attend while in their cars. A large screen and performances will be viewed while ensuring safety measures and social distancing in place.

Badung Regent, Nyoman Giri Prasta initiated the drive-in event for the residents of Badung District to boost morale as well as economic activity. The event will be held in Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Park in Jimbaran.

During the event, visitors can enjoy musical performances from their cars to avoid contact with others. Live audio will connect directly to the cars’ bluetooth systems to grant an immersive experience.

“It’s a drive thru event so we will provide a massive screen for the audience. Both international and domestic visitors can enjoy the performances from their cars” said Prasta during an interview in Kuta.

All prevention protocols will be supervised by onsite staff. “Visitors can only leave their cars to go to the bathroom.” Prasta added. The event aligns with governmental efforts to shift the economy into the ‘new normal’ era.

Prasta also stated that Badung is not only facing a health emergency, but also an economic emergency, and major steps need to be taken in order to combat the crisis.

He acknowledged his appreciation for the Central Government’s policy in allowing domestic tourists to visit the island. According to data from the Covid-19 Handling Task Force, the number of active cases in Badung has recently decreased.

A similar event, Bali Revival 2020 – New Era Festival was previously held in Ubud Monkey Forest. It was a musical concert in which all visitors remained inside their cars to avoid large gatherings. (Thebalisuns.com 12/12/2020)


UN says Bali is ready to reopen borders for international travelers

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), an official agency from the UN, confirmed that Bali is now ready to reopen for international tourism.

The Regional Director of UNWTO for Asia-Pacific, Harry Hwang, completed a full inspection of the preparation stage for Bali, checking for administered health and safety protocols.

The only thing standing in the way of Bali reopening is an official decree by the President to reopen borders for international tourism.

During the Bali Democracy Forum held in Nusa Dua on Thursday (10/12), Hwang mentioned that from the moment he landed in Bali, he was immediately impressed by Bali’s implementation of prevention protocols.

Hwang also credited the provincial government in assuring that all accommodation businesses are keeping up with the standards outlined by the Clean Health Safety Environment (CHSE).

Contributing to safety measures, an integrated Covid-19 tracing app, Indonesia Health Card Alert (e-HAC) helps the government to monitor traveler history and records.

“I’m happy to see Indonesia handle this situation accordingly. I won’t be surprised to see an international travel corridor reopen by the end of this year” Harry concluded.

The Head of Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy, Wishnutama was grateful to see UNWTO support Indonesia at this time.

During the seminar “Capacity Building Workshop on Restarting International Tourism in Bali”, held Dec 7th to Dec 9th, Wishnutama said that Indonesia will focus on adopting new procedures in order to adapt with the ‘new normal’ era, such as better health and immigration services.

“The pandemic should really change our mindset. People need to be more aware of their health and safety, especially before going on vacation,” Wishnutama concluded. (Thebalisuns.com 12/12/2020)