Local News

Bali governor designates Ubud, Sanur, and Nusa Dua as COVID-19 ‘green zones’ for foreign tourists

Three popular tourist destinations in Bali have officially been designated “green zones,” the governor announced yesterday, as Indonesia appears to be moving forward with plans to reopen the island to foreign visitors in the near future.

As previously hinted, officials have settled on Ubud, Sanur, and the Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) area in Nusa Dua as green zones, which Bali Governor Wayan Koster explained was part of a new “COVID-19 safe travel” strategy.

He added that the decision was made under instructions and approval from Indonesia’s Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin and Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno.

The green zones are part of a “Free COVID Corridor” program, Koster said, and the first step of this strategy is to vaccinate everyone who resides and conducts activities in the designated areas.

“This Free COVID Corridor Program is a precondition for steps to reopen tourism to foreign tourists,” Koster said at a press conference in Denpasar.

The governor said that more than 50,000 people in Ubud are going to be vaccinated as part of this particular program, as well as over 60,000 people in Nusa Dua, and nearly 27,000 people in Sanur, who are residing in villages and sub-districts that have been officially selected.

The province reported 256 new coronavirus cases and seven deaths yesterday. According to Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist from Griffith University Australia, Bali should achieve a target of at least two weeks without reporting any deaths, among a bunch of other targets to fulfill, before even considering to reopen to mass tourism.


Foreigners defying health protocols in Bali face IDR1 million fine, possible deportation

It’s official. Foreign nationals in Bali are now subject to a higher fine of IDR1 million (US$69.80) if they are caught without masks the first time, while a second violation may subject them to deportation from Indonesia, according to a new regulation.

The new rules are laid out in Bali Gubernatorial Regulation No. 10/2021 and officially came into effect on March 4, though today appears to be the first time Governor Wayan Koster announced it in public.

For months now, authorities have had to deal with foreigners defying the province’s mandatory mask rule, as they make up the majority of violators in regions such as Badung. Just last month, the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) said that 90 percent of mask rule violators in the regency are foreigners.

As a result, Koster said that the central government has urged his administration to implement stricter administrative sanctions for those who disobey health protocols.

Bali started implementing a mandatory mask rule in September, where individuals without masks outside of their homes were subject to an IDR100,000 (US$6.98) fine, which applied for both Indonesian citizens and foreign nationals.

However, foreigners appear to have disproportionately disregarded the rule in the months since, with authorities saying that those initial fines were “too cheap” for them. Under the new regulation, Indonesians without masks are still subject to IDR100,000 fine, but the fine for foreign nationals has increased tenfold for their first violation.

Should they be caught a second time without masks, they could face deportation.

After almost a year of foreigners refusing to wear masks in public, especially in popular areas like Ubud and Canggu, are we about to see better compliance to basic health protocols across the island? (coconuts.co 09/03/2021).


Internet to stay on during Nyepi: Bali provincial government

In case you’ve been worried about going offline this coming Sunday, the provincial government has confirmed that the internet will stay on during Nyepi, or the Balinese Day of Silence, this year.

News reports published last week, which said that there was going to be a province-wide internet shutdown during Nyepi, caused some confusion among the public.

“This means that cellular data and IPTV (Internet Protocol television) will be off, but the internet will remain on. The internet at home, especially in hospitals and other vital objects will be on like normal,” Gede Pramana, Head of the Communication, Informatics and Statistics Agency in Bali, said in a statement.

“Only [cellular data] on phones will be off. You can still text and call, even your computer, laptop and mobile phones can connect to the Wi-Fi at home or office and be used like normal.”

The holy day falls on Sunday, March 14 this year. Everyone on the island is expected to respect the sacred practice and stay inside, where lights are not supposed to be seen from the outside. Tradition holds that people are not supposed to work or travel, as they are expected to use the day for self-reflection.

Cellular data services being turned off during Nyepi is not exactly new, and non-mobile internet service providers (ISPs) have also largely remained operational in previous years. In addition, transportation hubs, including the Ngurah Rai International Airport, will be closed for 24 hours from 6am on March 14 to 6am on March 15. (coconuts.co 09/03/2021).


2 Balinese men arrested for alleged attempt to deposit US$1.5 million of counterfeit cash

Two Balinese residents were arrested in Surabaya, East Java after allegedly attempting to deposit US$1.5 million of fake bills at a local bank.

Oki Ahadian, who heads the criminal investigation unit at Surabaya City Police, said yesterday that the two suspects, identified as 42-year-old IWW and 56-year-old SMJ, had brought 15,000 one hundred US dollar bills and attempted to make a deposit. Bank tellers followed procedures while assisting them, during which they discovered irregularities.

“Each [US] dollar has a serial number, and after [these were] checked it showed that these ones don’t exist,” Oki said, adding that the bills were also imperfectly printed.

Authorities then took the bills for examination, and it was found that they were fake bills.

IWW and SMJ told the police that they obtained the counterfeit money from someone in Bali, adding that they have used the money for personal expenses so far. They traveled to Surabaya intending to deposit the money so they can write checks.

Under Indonesia’s criminal code (KUHP), they each face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. (coconuts.co 09/03/2021).


Expat Responsible For ‘Tantric Retreat’ In Bali Released After Investigation

Australian national, Andrew Irvine Barnes (51) was released after his recent arrest for advertising a “Tantric Orgasm Retreat” on social media. As previously reported, Barnes was detained by Bali Immigration and Police for his Tantric Orgasm Retreat that he promoted on social media with tickets being sold at USD $500 (IDR 7.1 million).

The retreat was officially cancelled and the page was removed from Facebook shortly after it garnered negative attention online.

Barnes was being reported on by a local businesswoman, Ni Luh Djelantik, who filed a report to police regarding the retreat.

Authorities arrived at Barnes’ residence in Lod Tunduh, Ubud, to take him to Ubud Police Department for investigation on Friday afternoon (5/3).

The Head of Gianyar Police Department, AKBP Dewa Made Adnyana said that after investigating the case for several hours with the detainee, officers did not find any violations of the Indonesian constitution.

“Andrew admitted that he planned to hold the orgasm class at Amatara Hotel in Ubud, but he had canceled it despite receiving five bookings,” said AKBP Adnyana on Saturday (6/3).

He was detained along with his partner, Tara Lie from Canada, who helped to organize the retreat.

Meanwhile, immigration officers also did not find a violation of immigration laws as they both carry temporary limited residence (ITAS) permits for investors in Bali.

Officers educated them by explaining that such activity is against the norm of Indonesian culture.

“As a law enforcement agency, we have a quick response time and we’ll assure that such activity does not take place,” said the Head of Indonesian Criminal Investigation Bureau, Komjen Agus Andriantio during the press conference on Saturday (6/3).(thebalisun.com 07/03/2021).


Bali Authorities Increase Safety Measures at Airport

Following the emergence of new, highly transmissible variants of COVID-19 overseas, Bali authorities have increased screening and safety measures at Ngurah Rai International Airport. Primarily, airport authorities are executing strenuous health protocols in every corner of the airport area.

The Stakeholder Relations Manager of Ngurah Rai Airport, Taufan Yudhistira noted that as the main gateway into the island, the airport is responsible for preventing the transmission of all variants of COVID-19.

The airport has carried out safety efforts such as preparing a thermal scanner. “We need to be more alert by adding screening measures,” said Yudhistira.

Second, airport staff thoroughly reviews test documents and the Electronic Health Alert Card (e-HAC) from each passenger upon arrival.

“Our supervision team will check all documents required such as e-HAC, swab test result, or rapid antigen test result while reminding them to comply with the prevention protocols in Bali,” Yudhistira added.

He also said that the airport will cooperate with the Port’s Health Office (KKP) Class I Denpasar to support the program.

Meanwhile, in response to the new variant of coronavirus, the Head of Bali Health Agency, Dr. Ketut Suarjaya claims that the COVID-19 vaccines currently being administered from Sinovac and Biofarma are quite effective in preventing its transmission.

“According to the observation, the current vaccines we are receiving are also able to prevent the mutated virus transmission,” Dr. Suarjaya said.

Bali received 10,120 doses of vaccine supply on Saturday morning (6/3) to be soon distributed to its residents.(thebalisun.com 08/03/2021).


Woman Lost All Her Money After Being Hypnotized In Bali

A local woman named Atik has lost the money in her bank account after strangely being hypnotized by strangers on the street in Tabanan. She doesn’t remember much except a group of people leading her to the atm to drain her account.

The woman who lives in Banjar Taman Suradadi, Kediri Tabanan said that the incident occurred on Friday morning (5/3) as she was going to the ATM.

Atik had already withdrawn USD 70 (IDR 1 million) from BRI bank’s ATM to purchase basic needs on Jalan Raya Abiantuwung, Tabanan. Atik’s daughter, Iin explained that when her mother went to the local vendor, a lady wearing a black hat suddenly approached her.

“My mom told me that a fat woman suddenly tapped her shoulder, pretending to ask for something,” Iin said. Becoming suspicious, Atik tried to get away, yet suddenly a man approached her asking if she could help him exchange his Singapore dollar with Indonesian rupiah.

“The woman with the black hat appeared again after that, and enticed her to get inside the car and go to Senggol Market in Kediri” Iin added.

The only thing Atik remembers is that she lost all the money in her bank as they somehow made her withdraw all funds from the ATM.

After the incident, Atik filed a report to Tabanan Police Department. Officers tried to investigate the case by gathering information from the location. According to the CCTV footage, there were five perpetrators and they drove a black Toyota Avanza.

Iin hopes that the perpetrators will be arrested soon, as the police already received other reports from two different people with the same case recently.(thebalisun.com 10/03/2021).