Local News

Indonesia extends COVID-19 curbs as infections spread in regions

The government has extended its COVID-19 curbs on Java and Bali until Aug. 16, but will ease them in 26 areas, as official data showed infections have plunged in the capital Jakarta but are increasing elsewhere.

In one of Asia’s worst epidemics, authorities restricted mobility to stem the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus on Java and Bali in early July, and since extended them to other areas with high infection rates.

“Don’t let the improvement that we’ve achieved laboriously go to waste,” Luhut Pandjaitan, Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister, tasked with overseeing the response in Java and Bali, said late on Monday.

Malls will reopen at 25 percent capacity for vaccinated people, except for children and the elderly, and people must show their vaccination proof using a digital application, Luhut said.

People’s vaccination status will determine which health protocols they must adhere to in sectors like tourism and education, whether they have to wear masks or not, said Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin.

Restrictions in areas outside Java and Bali will be extended until Aug. 23 as cases went up by 1.2 percent, whereas cases on Java and Bali dropped by 27 percent this month.

In Jakarta, there were 14,619 infections on July 12, but on Monday, there were 727, government data showed. Overall bed occupancy rates at the city’s hospitals dropped to 39 percent from 90 percent.

The spread of the Delta variant, first identified in India, has put regions with weaker healthcare systems under strain. The occupancy of intensive care beds in Gorontalo on Sulawesi island has surpassed 90 percent, while the level in three regions on Sumatra island was above 80 percent, health ministry data showed.

Meanwhile, in East Kalimantan the number of infections has soared from 922 cases in the second week of June to 12,127 in the first week of August, the health agency chief said. ( thejakartapost.com/ 11/08/2021)


A Covid-19 Vaccine Certificate Soon To Be An Entry Requirement For Bali Shopping Malls

The Indonesian central government through the Economic Coordinator Minister, Airlangga Hartanto has announced that a Covid-19 vaccine certificate would be an entry requirement to shopping malls in Bali in the near future.

Hartanto confirmed that the policy to show proof of a Covid-19 vaccine for each visitor before entering shopping malls in Bali is expected to be implemented in the next three weeks. As a response to this regulation, the Head of Bali Shopping Center Management Association (APPBI), Gita Sinarwulan stated that she has communicated this policy with a company called PeduliLindungi to register and provide barcode scanners in all the shopping malls across Bali as a form of support to this program.

“All the shopping malls’ visitors must scan their Covid-19 certificate barcode through PeduliLindungi apps before entering the building.” Sinarwulan said on Friday (6/8). She also hopes that the government would consider revoking their restrictions and reopen all shopping centers after implementing this policy, she hopes this will help reactivate the economic activity that was negatively impacted by the emergency partial lockdown that started at the beginning of July 2021.

However, Sinarwulan admitted her concern that this policy might bring an impact in reducing the occupancy rate once it’s implemented. “We’re definitely concerned that people might become reluctant to visit our shopping center, but we will still support the government’s program in achieving herd immunity in Bali.” Sinarwulan concluded. She also urges the government to publicly inform the community regarding this program before implementing the policy. (coconuts.co 10/08/2021)


Family seeks to bring home American tourist in coma following tragic scooter accident in Bali

The family of an American tourist in Bali is pleading for online donations to help bring her home to the US, after the tourist suffered a traumatic brain injury following a tragic scooter accident on the island late last month.
Kaitlyn McCaffery was reportedly driving her scooter to her apartment in Bali when she crashed on July 31. Two local passersby later found her injured and unconscious on a remote road before taking her to a hospital in Denpasar, where she is currently in a coma according to a GoFundMe page set up by her family friend, Dena Gustus Cruz, over the weekend.

The incident has left McCaffery with a severe brain injury, along with other serious injuries, they wrote. The family also says that COVID-19 travel restrictions imposed by the Indonesian government have made it impossible for them to be with her, though they are “doing everything they can” to get to Bali.

Foreign arrivals are currently banned in Indonesia due to the coronavirus outbreak with some exemptions, such as officials visiting for diplomatic purposes, and existing holders of the Temporary Stay Permit (KITAS) and the Permanent Stay Permit (KITAP).

Though McCaffery had purchased an international medical insurance, her family said the company is refusing to pay the cost of evacuating her back to California. With the distance and ongoing border closures, it is estimated that the cost to transport her will be around a quarter million dollars, which is the goal of their fundraising.
As of this article’s publication, the family has raised over US$200,000 from around 2,700 donors.

McCaffery grew up in Santa Clara, California and graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in business entrepreneurship. Her Instagram posts, as well as descriptions from her family, depict her as a world traveler. Her most recent photo was uploaded on July 30, and she appears to have been in Indonesia since early June.

The co-founder of her online business Sunfara, whose first name is Ellie, has been providing daily updates on McCaffery’s condition. McCaffery is said to be stable as of this morning, and might soon be taken off the ventilator once doctors deem she is ready. (coconuts.co 10/08/2021)


Lights off, party on at Bali karaoke bars caught flaunting COVID-19 curbs

According to the police, authorities busted the karaoke bars thanks to a tip from citizens who suspected that they remained open and thus violating restrictions. The bars appeared to be closed from the outside after they turned off the lights illuminating the storefront.

I Dewa Gede Anom Sayoga, who heads the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) in Denpasar, said the two karaoke bars were fined IDR1 million (US$69.42) each, and have been ordered to close temporarily.

The Denpasar Police yesterday said that the bars’ staff have been called in for questioning, and that authorities are now monitoring the establishments in question to prevent repeat offences.

“We will continue to monitor [nightlife establishments]. We will act firmly by closing them if they are caught violating [curbs],” Terang Ginting from Denpasar Police’s Crime Investigation Unit, said.

A spokesman from one of the karaoke bars told local media outlets that they have officially remained closed during the Emergency Enforcement of Restrictions on Public Activities (Emergency PPKM) protocol, which prohibits nightlife businesses from operating.

However, they claim that some customers may have pushed their way in and were granted entry by the staff on duty, which has led to videos of their time at the bars circulating on the internet. (coconuts.co 10/08/2021)


Mall, Restaurant Visitors Will Be Asked to Show Vaccination Status

The Indonesian government plans stricter measures to limit public mobility and gathering during the raging Covid-19 outbreak by requiring its citizens to show their vaccination status when entering public facilities.
When announcing the plan on Monday, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin compared it to the separation of smokers and non-smokers at eateries.

“There will be a screening procedure to check whether or not the person is vaccinated. Vaccinated people are entitled to more relaxed protocols than unvaccinated ones,” Budi said in a video conference.

“It’s the same as the separation between smoking and non-smoking areas at a restaurant. For vaccinated visitors, they may have a table for four and be allowed to unmask, while unvaccinated visitors are limited to two per table and put at outdoor area,” he explained.

The ruling will be trialed under a pilot project covering six areas: trade, such as malls, grocery stores, and traditional markets; offices and industrial areas; public transportation; hospitalities such as hotels, restaurants and resort areas; religious activities; and education.

Its implementation is supported by government-sponsored digital application “Peduli Lindungi” (to care and protect) which provides real-time vaccination and Covid diagnostic test status of all citizens, Budi said.
This practice has been introduced in the civil aviation business since months ago.

“We have integrated our system with the air transportation sector. Once passengers check in, their vaccination and PCR test status will show up automatically,” Budi said.
The government is teaming up with related industry associations to expand the procedure beyond civil aviation, the minister added.
“The virus will stay with us for long. We need to have a roadmap to anticipate if it takes years to get rid of the virus and to adopt the appropriate health protocols that will allow us to continue with economic activities in a safer circumstance,” Budi said.
He didn’t say when the pilot project will begin.
Indonesia has administered more than 74 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to date, with 24.2 million people fully vaccinated.(jakartaglobe 10/08/2021)


Businesses At Bali’s Padangbai Port Resort To Selling Their Boats Due To Economic Crisis

Several transportation businesses at the Padangbai Port in Bali have resorted to selling their fast boats because use of the port has drastically dropped since the Covid-19 pandemic struck last year.

The Head of Padangbai Port Official, Luh Putu Eka Suyasmin confirmed that the businesses that have been relying on tourism to transport passengers from Padangbai to Gili Trawangan are struggling to survive the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Some of the businesses have already sold their boats, and many others will do the same as they become unable to pay their bills since the travel restrictions were implemented last year due to the global pandemic.” Suyasmin said Thursday (5/8).

Suyasmin explained that from dozens of transportation businesses in Padangbai, only 1 of them is still operating. “In June 2021, 2 of the final 3 open businesses at the port decided to close their operations as well. So there’s only 1 company still remaining that is able to provide transportation services to approximately 15 to 20 passengers per day.” Suyasmin added.

Suyasmin proposes the central government revokes the travel restrictions, especially for international visitors in order to help the tourism sector recover from this major crisis. “I hope that the government will start considering reopening the border, but before it happens all the remaining fast boats that haven’t been operational since the Covid-19 pandemic started are still abandoned at Padangbai Port.” Suyasmin concluded. (thebalisun.com/ 09/08/2021)


Indonesian mother tries to console son crying over Messi’s Barcelona exit

News of Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi leaving FC Barcelona has evoked tears and sadness for fans across the globe, and that includes this young man from East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), whose sorrow went viral after it was captured on camera as it showed his sweet mother trying to console him.
The 80-second clip started out with the mother attempting to understand what was causing her son’s anguish, and the latter trying to explain that Messi was leaving Barca.

Though she appears baffled with her son’s reaction over something that unfolded half the world away, she still tried ⁠— very sweetly, might we add ⁠— to console him later in the video, instead of dismissing his feelings.
“So Barcelona decided to let him go. So here, if he leaves Barcelona, is he going to die?” the mother asked.
“He’s not going to die, right, he’s got money. Just let it go, it’s okay.”

Barca announced last week that it could no longer afford Messi’s salary next season, ending the diminutive megastar’s 21 years at the club. The seasoned player bade a tearful farewell to Barca during a news conference on Sunday, where he also confirmed that he was talking with French club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) over a possible move.