Local News

Tourism Minister Plans Drive-Thru Vaccination Services In Bali

Indonesian Tourism Minister, Sandiaga Uno reviewed potential locations as drive-thru facilities for COVID-19 vaccination in Bali.  Sandiaga said that the in-vehicle process is a concrete form of innovation and has been tried in the United States.

“We’ve discussed the details of this program, and I hope we can start this program in the near future,” said Sandiaga on Thursday (25/2).

After inspecting Waterbom Kuta as a potential venue, Sandiaga said that the process of vaccination will be relatively quick, as the medical staff will observe individuals’ health condition before they receive the jab, taking around 30 minutes total.

“The concept would be for them to park the car and receive the injection as the Health Ministry has requested,” Sandiaga added.

He’s also optimistic that this program will accelerate the vaccination program in Bali before the border reopens.
Additionally, Sandiaga believes the Waterbom Kuta is the best location candidate for the vaccination program as it contains a large space, allowing people to carry out physical distancing during the process.

Meanwhile the President Director of Waterbom Kuta, Sayan Gulino admitted that he recommended this venue to the Tourism Minister as his contribution to helping the government accelerate the vaccination process.

“It’s so sad to see the situation these days, so I offered this place because it has easy access to both the airport and hospital,” Gulino said.

Apart from Kuta, Sandiaga also plans to provide the same facility in other tourism areas in Bali such as Nusa Dua, Ubud, Sanur, and Nusa Penida. (thebalisun.com 28/02/2021)

Bali police arrest Russian fugitive wanted by Interpol after 2 weeks on the run

Authorities have finally arrested the two Russian fugitives ⁠— one of whom is reportedly on Interpol’s Red Notice list ⁠— who had been on the run in Bali for almost two weeks.

Andrei Kovalenka and Ekaterina Trubkina, who are reportedly a married couple, were arrested yesterday at a villa located in Umalas, North Kuta. Immigration authorities said that the arrests were possible due to a joint effort involving military and police officers.

The two stood behind law enforcers in orange polo shirts as a press conference announcing their capture was held in Denpasar this afternoon. Indonesian authorities said that Kovalenka is listed as an Interpol fugitive, without disclosing any further information on the charges that he is wanted for. A search on Interpol’s public red notice list does not reveal anyone with his name. However, it should be noted that the majority of red notices are restricted to law enforcement use only, according to Interpol’s website.

Kovalenka, who was previously serving time in Kerobokan Prison for a narcotics case, escaped from the Ngurah Rai Immigration Office on Feb. 11. Upon completing his sentence, he was in the process of being moved to the immigration detention center in Denpasar when he was visited by Trubkina, who officials said assisted his escape.

Authorities then published details of the two fugitives online as they sought public assistance to locate them. (coconuts.co 25/02/2021)

Bali to continue hotel quarantine subsidy for COVID-19 patients with regional budget after brief suspension

Bali province is set to continue subsidizing the quarantine of COVID-19 patients who are mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic in hotels using the regional budget, an official said today, after the program was briefly suspended due to uncertainty in funding from the central government.

In a letter issued last Thursday, regional secretary Dewa Made Indra instructed regents and mayors across Bali to temporarily suspend quarantining asymptomatic COVID-19 patients, including health workers falling under this category, from Feb. 19 onwards. The patients were instructed to instead self-quarantine at their own homes, with supervision from the local COVID-19 task forces.

Indra said this is because funding for the program, which was under the purview of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), is only set until the end of this month.

I Made Rentin, secretary of the COVID-19 Task Force in Bali, said today that all regencies in Bali have agreed to use the regional budget to fund hotel quarantine for coronavirus patients.

“The quarantines will still be centralized. Eight regencies are ready to fund this. Denpasar City has yet to decide [and will] look for other alternatives,” Rentin said.

The official said that centralizing quarantines, whether in hotels or government facilities, can help tackle the spread of the coronavirus in Bali, as opposed to allowing each patient to self-isolate in their own homes and possibly transmitting the disease to the wider community. (coconuts.co 23/02/2021)


Governor says new presidential regulation opens up investment opportunities on Balinese arak

Bali Governor Wayan Koster said a presidential regulation signed earlier this month will further the development of Bali’s own traditional liquor arak, marking a new chapter in the province’s push for the beverage to gain more commercial prominence.

“The existence of Presidential Regulation [Perpres] No. 10 Year 2021 is making arak, tuak, and brem from Bali a legal business to produce and develop,” Koster said during a press conference in Denpasar yesterday.

Tuak is a sweet drink from coconut palm flower while brem is a drink made of rice wine.

Last year, Koster issued a gubernatorial regulation on production and marketing of the beverage aimed at preserving and promoting the drinks. Under that regulation, producers of traditional Balinese fermented and distilled drinks will have to acquire licenses and pass food safety tests from the Indonesian Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) to ensure that they meet quality and hygiene standards.

The regulation served as a relief for traditional liquor producers and sellers, who in the past had to deal with authorities for doing either or both.

Koster emphasized this week how the Perpres signed by President Joko Widodo on Feb. 2 further strengthens the regulation he has issued and opens up investment opportunities on the traditional liquor.

In addition, the governor also signaled upcoming policies that will specifically address business and industrial development for these Balinese fermented and distilled drinks, which will work closely with the traditional producers. (coconuts.co 23/02/2021)

Poverty In Bali Surges As Tourism Sector Devastated By Pandemic

The global pandemic has devastated Bali’s tourism-based economy, causing poverty to surge across the island. Indonesia’s decision to close international borders in March of 2020 proved devastating consequences on Bali’s tourism industry, causing layoffs, business closures, and lack of economic activity.  Accordingly, Bali has been most impacted amongst all areas in Indonesia.

The Head of Statistic Center Agency (BPS) for Bali Province, Hanif Yahya explained that the poverty rate was at 4.45 percent as of September 2020.

“The number has increased around .67% in September in comparison with the data from March 2020,” Yahya said on Wednesday (17/2).

At least 31,73 thousand residents of Bali became financially incapable to support themselves based on the data between March and September 2020.

“There were 196,92 thousand people who were financially broke in Bali as of September 2020,” Yahya added. Numbers are projected to be significantly higher now.

Poverty is widespread across the entire island from villages to major cities like Badung and Denpasar.  The crisis has not only affected the tourism sector but also agriculture, the creative economy, and more. Many of these sectors are linked to the crisis as much of their income is derived from tourist activity.

The state of the crisis is expected to get much worse as the central government prolongs the reopening of borders needed to stimulate the economy. The severity of the crisis has shown overwhelming consequences on a multitude of levels, as statistics show an incline in the number of mental health diagnoses, suicide cases, crime rates, and divorce rates. (thebalisun.com 22/02/2021)

North Bali Airport Project Rejected By Government Officials

Commission IV from the Indonesian House of Representatives has urged the provincial government to reconsider its plans to build an airport in the Northern Bali area of Buleleng. The construction project was disapproved by officials due to potential impacts on the surrounding environment.

The planned airport construction in West Buleleng occupies land from the West Bali National Park (TNBB) as the airport’s runway. The national park houses protected animals and various ecosystems, which could potentially be affected by this project.

Senators from Commission IV made a visit to the TNBB office to discuss the project with the landowner and community officials. As Commission IV is responsible for agriculture, maritime affairs, as well as the environment and forestry, they analyzed the project’s impact on the National Park.

Following the discussion, a member of Commission IV, A.A Bagus Adhi Mahendra Putra (a.k.a Gus Adhi), indicated that the development of this project would be declined.

“This ambitious project could potentially harm the ecosystem in the national park and destroy the habitat of Jalak Bali and other protected animals in Indonesia. The noise of the airplane on the runway could stress and harm the animals. We obviously don’t want them to be extinct in the future,” Gus Adhi said on Tuesday (16/2). Additionally, the national park would lose an estimated 63 acres of land from this development.

“I personally disagree with switching the function of areas in the national park into an airport,” Gus Adhi stated.

He noted that there were inconsistencies about the planned location of the airport. Initially, the Transportation Ministry intended to build the airport near Singaraja and not the western area located near the National Park. He also urged the provincial government to protect the rights of the local residents upon their lands so that investors will not be able to take over their land in the future. (thebalisun.com 22/02/2021)

Bali Residents Expected To Receive Vaccines By August

The Badung Regency Government through the Badung COVID-19 Task Force is targeting to complete the vaccination for health workers this month. The second phase of vaccination will consist of government officials and senior residents over 60 years of age, and the third stage is expected to begin in August, rolling out vaccines to all residents in the region.

The Head of Badung Health Agency, Dr. I Nyoman Gunarta explained that from total of 6,533 medical workers in the Badung district, 5,550 or 84.95 % have been vaccinated. Of the remainder, 331 were not qualified to receive the vaccine due to congenital disease, and the rest will be scheduled to receive it before the end of the month.

The second phase of vaccine distribution will be targeted towards government officials and the elderly.

“When we finish with medical workers, people from several government institutions including Police, Military, teachers, government official, and elderly people will be scheduled to receive the vaccine as the second stage of the vaccination program in Badung,” Gunarta said on Sunday (14/2). He later explained that stage two of vaccination is expected to be complete by July 2021.

Conclusively, most Bali residents would receive the vaccine around August of this year.

Meanwhile, the accumulative COVID-19 cases as of Sunday (14/2) are 5,667 cases, with 5,122 recoveries.

“We still need to be alert as most people haven’t received the vaccine, so prevention protocols such as mask-wearing and physical distancing have to be enforced in all areas,” Dr. Gunarta concluded. (thebalisun.com 20/02/2021)

Partial Lockdown Extended In Bali

The government has extended the partial lockdown in Bali and Java until at least March 8. The partial lockdown limits community activity and business operating hours in efforts to reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

The announcement was made by the Chairman of the Committee for Handling COVID-19 and National Economic Recovery (KPC-PEN) Airlangga Hartarto.

“The time extension has been decided for the next two weeks, from February 23 to March 8, 2021,” Airlangga said in an online press conference, Saturday (20/2).

He noted that the implementation of the partial lockdown has seen improvements over the past five weeks, and therefore must be extended to maintain results.

“According to the data from officials of seven provinces, this program has been effectively reducing virus transmission,” Hartanto added.

As the current Indonesian Minister of Home Affairs, Hartarto also urged all governors in each province to immediately carry out this instruction.

Hartanto reminds officials to strengthen operations in supervising Testing, Tracing and Treatment (3T) in their areas to update the central government on the latest data regarding the COVID-19 transmission.

“I urge officials to cooperate with COVID-19 Handling Task Force of each village to set zoning areas based on the risk of each region,” Hartanto concluded.

Conclusively, he has organized a process of facilitating food aid to residents through government institutions including police and military during this lockdown.

Bali gov’t grants Dior permission to use kain endek for its collection

Bali provincial government and French fashion house Dior will be working together to promote warp-print fabrics native to the Indonesian province known as kain endek, after the material was showcased at Paris Fashion Week last year.

Governor Wayan Koster signed a memorandum of understanding with Dior’s senior vice president and general counsel, Marie Champey, during a virtual meeting last Friday. According to a press release issued by the Bali administration, the agreement includes cooperation to empower small and medium enterprises in Bali that produces handwoven endek.

Bali province has granted Dior permission to use its kain endek on the latter’s collection, as long as they are handmade by Balinese artisans, and that the handwoven patterns acquire intellectual property rights that specifies Bali as its geographical indication. In addition, Dior is prohibited from using kain endek produced beyond the province that uses modern weaving machines or other printing tools.

The agreement also contains more specific details, such as the provincial government requiring transparent and accountable information from Dior on the order fulfillment, or that the maximum length for each pattern is set at 105 centimeters.

“Considering the limited capacity to produce kain endek Bali and in order for artisans in Bali to fulfill the demands of Christian Dior Fashion House, then orders for kain endek Bali should be done in advance,” Koster said.

Kain endek is popular among many Balinese and believed to have originated from the Klungkung regency. Though the woven fabric has been around for centuries, endek reportedly only became more commercialized around the ‘80s. (coconuts.co 18/02/2021)