Local News

Bali Isolation Facilities Have Zero Patients As Covid Cases Drop

All the isolation facilities in the Jembrana region have zero occupants as Covid-19 cases continually go down.

The Secretary II of the Jembrana Covid-19 Handling Task Force, I Putu Agus Artana Putra, confirmed that all the regional government’s isolation facilities for Covid-19 patients have zero occupants as Covid transmission has significantly decreased.
“We just had one patient a few weeks ago. We haven’t received any more patients in the last few days,” Artana said on Sunday (20/3).
Artana explained that four clinics and several appointed hotels in Jembrana are empty. “Nobody is being isolated at the moment, so all those isolation facilities are unoccupied,” Artana added.
Despite receiving zero patients at the isolation facilities, Artana admitted that several patients who suffer from comorbid diseases are still being treated at the hospital.
“We still have a few Covid-19 patients at our hospital and asymptomatic patients who are undergoing self-isolation at home,” Artana concluded. He also urged Bali residents to join the vaccination program to prevent another surge in Jembrana.
Per the data from Jembrana’s officials, the region recorded 7,695 cases, 7,432 recoveries, and 247 deaths since the pandemic struck in 2020. (thebalisun.com/ 22/03)


Indonesia Ends All Quarantine Requirement in Broad Reopening

Indonesia is lifting all quarantine rules for international travellers to end two years of border closure, following its neighbours in easing restrictions as South-east Asia moves past the worst of the Omicron wave.
The government will broaden quarantine-free travel to the rest of the country, while still requiring a negative Covid-19 test result, Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno said in his weekly briefing on Monday (March 21).
The reopening comes after a successful two-week trial of quarantine-free travel to Bali, Batam and Bintan islands, where the spread of the virus remained low, he added.
South-east Asia’s largest economy has steadily chipped away at its remaining virus restrictions, most recently by allowing domestic travellers to board flights without having to present negative test results.
Daily coronavirus cases have dropped more than 90 per cent from the peak in mid-February, even as deaths remain high, reaching 139 people on Sunday.
The border reopening is set to bolster Indonesia’s role as the host of the Group of 20 summit this year.
The country aims to use the flurry of meetings among officials from the world’s biggest economies to help revive tourism revenue in Bali and nearby islands.
Neighbours Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines have already announced that they’re waiving quarantine rules for international travellers, while Thailand and Cambodia eased testing requirements to bolster tourism.
The industry accounted for 12.1 per cent of South-east Asia’s economic output and employed 42 million workers in 2019, according to the Asian Development Bank.
More places are easing their Covid-19 policies even when cases remain high.
Hong Kong is lifting a travel ban from several countries and halving mandatory quarantine, as Chief Executive Carrie Lam acknowledged that residents’ tolerance for the restrictions was fading. (straitstimes.com 22/03)


Over 1,000 International Travelers Have Received Visa On Arrival In Bali

An official from the Immigration Office has confirmed that over 1,000 foreign visitors have applied for visas on arrival since the government resumed the policy a few weeks ago.

The Head of the Ngurah Rai Immigration Office Class I, I Nyoman Gede Surya Mataram, confirmed that 1,384 international travelers have applied for a visa on arrival under tourism purposes since the government resumed the VoA program on March 7.
“From the 4,330 foreign visitors that have entered Bali, 1,384 of them applied for the VoA,” Mataram said on Thursday (17/3).

He explained that the majority of travelers who applied for the VoA were from 5 specific countries. “23 countries can apply for the visa on arrival in Bali Airport. However, most of the travelers who have entered with this type of visa were from Australia, America, England, France, and Russia,” Mataram added.
Meanwhile, the Stakeholder Relations Manager of Angkasa Pura I for Ngurah Rai Airport, Taufan Yudhistira, said that the traffic of Bali Airport has significantly increased.
“Bali Airport saw 7,393 passengers pass through the international arrivals terminal and 3,353 passengers went through the international departures terminal from March 3 to March 16. In total, there were 188 international flights,” Taufan said.
Six international airlines, namely, Jetstar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Garuda Airlines, Scoot Tigerair, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and Malaysia Airlines have resumed their flight routes to Bali. (thebalisun.com/ 22/03)


AirAsia’s Kuala Lumpur-Bali officially back in action. Up next? Bangkok-Bali

Low-cost airline AirAsia marked its international return to the Island of the Gods as its Kuala Lumpur-Denpasar flight landed at the Ngurah Rai International Airport yesterday. It was AirAsia’s first international flight to Bali since the pandemic started about two years ago.
In a statement published yesterday afternoon, AirAsia announced the landing of flight AK-376 in Bali, carrying 106 passengers. The flight departed from Kuala Lumpur at 10:24am local time and arrived at Ngurah Rai Airport at 1:21pm.
“The Bali-Kuala Lumpur direct flight is one of the main routes for tourists from Southeast Asia and other Asia regions to enter Bali with AirAsia. In 2019 (before the pandemic), AirAsia Airline Group served 45 Kuala Lumpur-Bali flights per week and carried 482,000 tourists from various countries to enter Bali via Kuala Lumpur,” AirAsia Indonesia CEO Veronika Yosephine said.

Since the reopening of international flights to Bali, as well as the reactivation of visa on arrival entry, AirAsia saw its flight bookings to Bali increase by 232 percent, according to the statement. As of yesterday, more than 1,000 seats on the airline’s Kuala Lumpur-Bali flights have been booked for the month ahead.
AirAsia plans to operate the Kuala Lumpur-Bali route seven times a week as of April 1, up from three times a week currently.
In addition to that, the airline says it is also planning to reactivate its Bangkok-Bali route on April 12.
AirAsia Thailand previously announced that it would resume its Bangkok-Bali flight in April, although at the time no specific date was mentioned..
Recently, other airlines such as Jetstar Australia, KLM Royal Dutch, and Scoot have made their long-awaited return to Bali after the island was shut to international flights for some two years due to the pandemic.


The quirks of Mandalika GP: Rain shaman, litter dominate post-race discussions

That was probably the song in the minds of the 2022 Indonesia MotoGP Grand Prix’s organizers over the weekend. Held at the Mandalika International Street Circuit in Central Lombok on Sunday, it was the first time since 1997 that Indonesia hosted a race for the top motorbike racing competition.
With some suggesting that the major event was part of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s ambition to promote non-Bali tourism (plus, like many Indonesians, His Excellency is a fan of MotoGP himself), there was no way they would let rain disturb the event.
The rain-averting shaman was reportedly recommended by Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Erick Thohir to delay rain at Mandalika. Rara reportedly already proved her “ability” by diverting precipitation during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang (of which Erick was the committee leader).
For the Mandalika grand prix, Rara was employed by the state-owned Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation, one of the race’s organizers.
Rain shamans are still believed by many Indonesians to have the ability to delay rainfall and are often hired for outdoor events such as weddings.
Interestingly enough, while the official MotoGP Facebook account and a German media practically praised her, the same cannot be said for, wait for it, Indonesian netizens.
“Please repent, do not try to challenge God’s will,” said a Facebook user.
“There are still people who believe fraudsters. There are no such things as shamans anymore in this world. What exists are fraudsters who claim that they can control rain. Hopefully, God will give us enlightenment,” said another.
Others actually suggest that Rara had ‘failed’ to do her job because the rain came nonetheless.
While nasty social media comments might annoy some people, Rara herself gave a nonchalant shrug.
“I don’t have any problem [with such comments]. I said from the start that I’m doing this as a service for Indonesia,” said Rara, who reportedly was paid handsomely to do her job.
The Jayapura-born lady commented that she was actually asked to ensure there was some rain to ensure that circuit routes were less hot. By that token, she said she “managed” to get some rain in the morning, as well as drizzles in the afternoon so the racers would feel comfortable.
The Mandalika grand prix was held from March 18 to 20, culminating in packed spectator stands on race day.
Sadly, but perhaps expectedly, a video has gone viral showing litter (mostly discarded junk food boxes) left behind in the seating area.
“Welcome to Indonesia. Trash everywhere,” said the video taker.
While some pointed out how sad the situation was (Indonesia does have a problem in waste management, by the way), others actually made self-deprecating jokes about it.
“If the circuit is clean, then we should be amused,” one user commented.
The grand prix also saw Spanish racer Marc Márquez, who was tipped for victory due to his recent impressive form, being sidelined after a major crash during warm up practice.
News circulated online that Márquez, nicknamed Baby Alien, was rejected by a local hospital because he did not have BPJS (Indonesia’s national health insurance). While it was clearly a joke, Minister of Communications and Information Johnny G. Plate (and other Indonesians) reportedly believed it at one point and wanted to check the validity of the “news.”
“I thought it was true,” Johnny said.
In an Instagram post, Márquez said that he and his team decided to not race at Mandalika as a precaution. He thanked the Mataram Hospital for the treatment he received. (coconuts.co 22/03)


Bali selected to host 2024 World Water Forum: ministry

Bali was selected to be the host of the 10th World Water Forum (WWF) scheduled in 2024, the Foreign Affairs Ministry noted in a written statement on Monday.

The selection was conducted during the 9th World Water Council’s (WWC’s) Board of Governors meeting in Dakar, Senegal, on March 19, 2022.

During the selection, Bali competed with Rome, Italy. To win, the candidate must obtain the most votes, at least 19 out of 36 votes.

Bali was selected after receiving 30 votes during the selection.

This outcome is a form of trust from the international community toward Indonesia’s leadership and commitment in the issue of water management, the ministry emphasized.

Access to clean water and sanitation is one of the crucial elements within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Indonesia has consistently contributed to the achievement of Global SDGs, including in access to clean water and sanitation, the ministry noted.

The 10th WWF will be themed “Water for Share Prosperity” that is highly relevant to the current global conditions, as clean water availability remains a challenge for several nations.

The Indonesian Government is committed to strengthening collaboration with various stakeholders in achieving the sixth target within the SDGs of the right over clean water and sanitation.

Indonesia is the first Southeast Asian country to be chosen to be the WWF host. This is deemed to be able to strengthen Indonesia’s position in water resource management.

WWF is the biggest international meeting in the water sector that discusses water resource management involving various stakeholders.

Initiated by the WWC, the WWF is held every three years and has routinely been conducted since 1997.

Indonesia being selected to host the 10th WWF is inseparable from the cooperation and coordination with various related institutions.

This included the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Public Works and Public Housing Ministry, Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry, and Bali provincial government.  (antaranews.com 22/03)


Gilimanuk-Mengwi Toll Road to improve connectivity in Bali: official

The construction of the Gilimanuk-Mengwi Toll Road, which will begin this year, is expected to improve connectivity in Bali province, Head of the Toll Road Authority Agency Danang Parikesit has said.

“The government, through the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing, (aims to) increase connectivity on the island of Bali through the Gilimanuk-Mengwi Toll Road,” he remarked at the signing of the toll road’s development agreement in Denpasar on Tuesday.

The construction of the Gilimanuk-Mengwi Toll Road is among the national strategic projects listed in the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Regulation No. 7 of 2021, he noted.

The Gilimanuk-Mengwi Toll Road will measure 96.84 km in length and its construction will be divided into three sections, he informed.

“Section 1 will connect Gilimanuk and Pekutatan with a length of 54.7 km, Section 2 with a length of 23.17 km connecting Pekutatan and Soka, and Section 3 of 18.9 km connecting Soka and Mengwi,” he said.

According to Parikesit, the construction of the second toll road in Bali is expected to reduce travel time between Jembrana and Badung Districts.

“Through this toll road, the travel time from Gilimanuk to Mengwi is estimated to be at 1 to 1.5 hours drive,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Public Works and Public Housing Basuki Hadimuljono said that the Gilimanuk-Mengwi Toll Road will be equipped with bike lanes to support tourism in the Bali region.

“This is probably the first toll road that has a bike path in Indonesia as (Bali) is a tourist area. We also have to adjust to the needs of the tourists,” he added.

The first toll road in Bali was officially opened by former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on September 23, 2013, he noted.

The 12.7-km toll road linking Benoa-Ngurah Rai-Nusa Dua on the island resort of Bali uses environmentally friendly methods to reduce environmental damage to the waters around Benoa Bay, he added. (antaranews.com 22/03)


Russian artist and Ukrainian in Bali collaborate on message of unity

A Russian artist and a Ukrainian owner of a villa complex on the Indonesian resort island of Bali have come together to promote peace and unity through a giant work of art.
The piece of calligraphy – spanning 960sq m (10,333sq ft) across the rooftops of nine buildings – spells out “United World” in six languages: Russian, Ukrainian, English, Chinese, French and Indonesian.
“This work is not a political statement, it’s a cultural statement, it’s a social statement, about people and the way… we can unite together to create a future in harmony,” Russian calligraphy artist Pokras Lampas told Reuters.
Mr Lampas, who has been in Bali since December, said the idea was developed with a group of Ukrainian friends before the war started, but now the work has taken on even more meaning.
The 30-year-old Mr Lampas, who describes his style as “Calligrafuturism” and says it encompasses modern calligraphy and elements of street art, spent three weeks creating the work.
Mr Alex Shtefan, the Ukrainian running the villa complex, said the art work matches his values and sent an important message.
Both men said they were shocked by the war in Ukraine.
“If we can find a way to stop it and find a peaceful way to negotiate, we need to make it now,” Mr Lampas said.
Even though the two countries have their own cultures, “Russia and Ukraine always was like a brother, we are always … close, we always help each other and even we look similar,” said Mr Shtefan, 35.
“We cannot believe that it’s happened,” Mr Shtefan said, adding that he was worried for the safety of loved ones back home.
Russia invaded Ukraine in February in a military offensive it describes as a “special military operation”. (straitstimes.com 18/03)