Bali Quarantine Period Increased to 10 Days
Amidst the background of a developing battle against Omicron – the newest strain of the coronavirus – the Indonesian Government has set the new mandatory quarantine period at 10-days, increasing in rapid succession from 3 to 7, and finally to the latest 10-days of “wellness incarceration.”
The 10-day quarantine period applies to Indonesian and foreign nationals arriving internationally in Indonesia.
As reported by NusaBali.com, the expanded period of quarantine has received a less-than-enthusiastic reception in Bali, where the Badung Regency Chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) is urging the Government to moderate the period travelers are required to go into lockdown.
The decision to increase from 7 to 10-days the quarantine period for all arriving travelers was announced by the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, on Thursday, 02 December 2021, following instructions issued by President Joko Widodo. Luhut defended the decision, citing the growing number of countries where the Omicron virus is being discovered.
The Minister said the new 10-day quarantine period takes effect from Friday, 03 December 2021. Adding: “Certainly, the government will periodically reevaluate the new policy (on quarantine) while we continue to understand and internalize information surrounding the new Omicron variant.”
The 10-day Indonesian Quarantine Period applies to Indonesian citizens and foreigners arriving in Indonesia from countries where the Omicron Variant has yet to be detected. Citizens and travelers who have visited the 11 countries and regions where Omicron has been confirmed are banned from entering Indonesia. The 11 countries and regions are Hong Kong, South Africa, Botswana, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini, and Lesotho.
As new cases of Omicron Variant are discovered in new countries worldwide, it may be reasonable to suspect the number of nations and regions blacklisted by Indonesia may be supplemented over time.
Minister Luhut explained that the Indonesian Government has not banned its citizens from traveling abroad but is, nonetheless, urging people to reconsider traveling internationally at this time.
The chairman of the Badung Regency PHRI, I Gusti Agung Rai Suryawijaya, described the new 10-day quarantine as the latest in a long series of challenges and obstacles for Bali’s tourism operators. He went on to compare the economy of Bali to a ship sailing between two coral reefs, trying to navigate a safe course between rival health and economic considerations.
Rai Suryawijaya said the 10-day Indonesian Quarantine Period period was too burdensome for foreign travelers wishing to holiday in Bali. He said the 10-day quarantine if seen from a business perspective, made no sense at all. And, for that matter, even a 5-day or 3-day quarantine is sufficient to discourage foreign tourists from coming to Bali. But, the PHRI Chairman acknowledged that the Government had its reasons for implementing a quarantine that tourism operators in Bali, like it or not, must support.
“In connection with the PPKM Level 3 lockdown and extending the fluctuating quarantine period that is now 10-days long, this is all dependent on the global situation. The Government has applied the brakes again because public health and the lives of people are involved,” explained Rai Suryawidjaya.
In any case, Rai Suryawijaya hoped the Government would consider the plight of the public and do whatever it could to sustain economic activity. Ideally, he said, the Government is urged to adopt a “middle road” by applying strict health protocols and vaccinating to achieve herd immunity.
Suryawidjaja suggested the Government should limit the number of domestic tourists coming to Bali to no more than 15,000 people each day and 3,000 foreign tourists from countries not afflicted with the Omicron Variant. (Bali Quarantine Period)
The PHRI Chairman said he is worried that the announcement of a partial lockdown of nationwide travel and public activities between 24 December 2021 and 02 January 2021 will further setback Bali’s tourism economy.
Holiday Gatherings Must be Kept Small
The Indonesian National Police have formally outlawed any Christmas and New Year’s celebrations that would cause people to gather in large, massed groups that might foster the further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The police say the banning of group gatherings is in keeping, with instructions issued by the Minister of Home Affairs (Number 62 of 2021) placing the Nation in a PPKM lockdown status from 24 December 2021 until 02 January 2022.
Inspector General Dedi Prasetyo, the spokesperson for the National Police, quoted by the National News Agency Antara, said: “For Christmas and New Years and following Instruction No. 62 of 2021 of the Minister of Home Affairs, all celebrations entailing mass attendance are forbidden to avoid creating new clusters of COVID-19 or the appearance the new Omicron variant.”
Prasetyo’s comments were made at a press conference of provincial police held at The Apurva Kempinski Hotel on Friday, 03 December 2021. Bali Quarantine Period
The police warned that large group gatherings discovered during the lockdown period would be disbanded, and corrective measures would be taken.
To ensure the lockdown rules are enforced during the ten-day period, police will intensify routine patrols and establish temporary police posts at various locations. Additional police personnel would be deployed at entrance points to toll roads, air and seaports, and popular tourism destinations. Police at ports would be inspecting vaccination certification and insist the PeduliLindungi Application is used.
Again – No Fireworks in Bali this Holiday Season
In Bali’s most populous and southernmost regency of Badung, local law enforcement has banned and outlawed the use of fireworks and pyrotechnic over the 2021/2022 Christmas and New Year period. Bali Quarantine Period
As reported by NusaBali.com, the Regency’s Law Enforcement Agency (Satpol PP) is conducting raids and inspections of local markets and shops, confiscating stocks of firecrackers and fireworks to prevent the sale and distribution of such materials.
The sweeping ban on fireworks and pyrotechnics is in keeping with the Minister of Home Affairs Instruction(Nomor 62 Tahun 2021) intended to prevent and control the spread of the coronavirus over the year-end holiday period. The ministerial instructions limit public movements and gatherings from 24 December 2021 until 02 January 2022.
The head of Badung’s Satpol PP, I Gusti Agung Ketut Suryanegara, said on Thursday, 02 December 2021, “During the celebrations in connection with Christmas and New Year, there can be no use of fireworks and pyrotechnics.
The Satpol PP cooperates with the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) and the Police to make routine patrols to prevent the sale of fireworks and pyrotechnics. These patrols, according to Suryanegara, will intensify as the Christmas and New Year holidays draw near.
As the holidays approach, the Satpol PP will also be inspecting local markets to ensure that outdated food items with expired “use-by” dates are not being sold to the public and included as part of traditional holiday gift packaged. Bali Quarantine Period
Bali Officials Corrupting Mask Funds
RadarBali.com reports a major corruption case in the Karangasem Regency in Bali involving the purchase of surgical masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The malfeasance took place in the Social Service Department of Karangasem in 2020 and has resulted in the incarceration of 7 government employees.
Preliminary estimates suggest that half of Rp. 2.9 billion allocated for surgical masks had been corrupted. (Bali Quarantine Period)
The head of the Intelligence Division of the Prosecutor’s Office in Karangasem, I Dewa Gede Semara Putra, told the press that his office is scheduling interviews with the seven people in police detention who are listed as “suspects” by the police.
Data compiled by the Bali office of the State Audit Board (BPKP) estimating the actual losses incurred by the Government in the case will be used in the final, formal charges. Preliminary estimations of losses performed by the Prosecutor’s Office suggest that from the Rp. 2.9 billion budgeted for surgical masks and hazmat masks, as much as one-half was corrupted.
All the seven suspects are employees of the Karangasem Social Service Department and have only thus far been identified by the initials of GS, IWB, INR, IKSA, NKS, and IGPY.
Another suspect, identified as I Gede Basma, was the former head of the Social Service Department in Karangasem at the time of the mask purchase. Basma is now in charge of The Karangasem Public Library Division
Bali Seeking Tourists Who Spend More
The Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, observes that expenditures by foreign tourists in Bali are less than the amount spent by their counterparts in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Bali Quarantine Period)
Quoted by Kompas.com and the State News Agency Antara, Luhut said on 01 December 2021, “In 2018, the spending level per tourist per day in Indonesia was less than other countries in Asia. Data provided by Mastercard in 2018, tourists in Bali spent US$125 per night as compared to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where the average spend was US$142.
The same data from Mastercard revealed an average spend of US$223 per night in Osaka, Japan; US$247 per night in Phuket, Thailand; and US$272 per night in Singapore.
Tourism in the Time of the New Normal (Bali Quarantine Period)
Luhut, who also serves as Indonesia’s COVID-19 Czar, said the shared experience of the coronavirus pandemic had shifted the tourism paradigm away from an emphasis on quantity to quality visitors with a high rate of daily expenditure.
Continuing, Luhut said that between 2015-2019 foreign tourist visits to Bali increased yearly to 64.5% of all foreign tourist visitors to Indonesia came to the Island of Bali. During the same period, domestic tourists to Bali increased every year.
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Bali Quarantine Period