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  • Writer's pictureChetan Prabhu

Coronavirus in Bali: All you need to know about Covid-19 in Indonesia

Follow these handy tips to stay safe and keep up-to-date on the situation in Bali & Indonesia, including travel bans & visa restrictions.

No matter how hard you try, there’s no escaping the news of the global Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic – even here in Bali. But there are ways to avoid getting sick, and more importantly, ways to reduce the spread of the virus. If you’re currently in Indonesia or have an upcoming holiday planned to Bali, you’re no doubt wondering, “is Bali safe“, or “can I enter Indonesia?“.

Well, the simple answer is that Bali is still safe for those who are fit, healthy and following correct hygiene and social distancing procedures. But to help minimise the spread of the virus, you should consider rescheduling any upcoming trips until the pandemic is under control. Furthermore, Indonesia has suspended all Visas on Arrival, and visitors have been encouraged to return to their home countries. All domestic air and sea travel within Indonesia also requires a negative Covid Rapid Test as well as other documentation.

To give you a better idea of the current Covid-19 situation in both Bali & Indonesia, here we dive into what the virus means for visitors to Indonesia (including expats and holidaymakers who are still here), and the necessary precautions and preventive measures to take when travelling to Bali.

  • Update: Bali has announced that the three-phase reopening plan has been postponed. The international borders did not reopen on September 11th. Bali will remain closed until the end of 2020.

What is the current Coronavirus situation in Bali & Indonesia?

As of today (18th November 2020), Indonesia is currently at Level 3 on the risk-level assessment, with 688 active cases in Bali, and a total of 60,426 active cases throughout Indonesia. Top tip: you can track live updates of active cases country-by-country here, or follow Indonesia-specific statistics here.)

That being said, Indonesia has reportedly tested a small percentage of the community, so the number of cases is likely inaccurate. What’s more, tests have predominantly been conducted in and around Jakarta and East Java, so other islands within Indonesia are not guaranteed to have fewer Coronavirus cases. So, in order to keep yourself safe and to minimise your risk of catching the virus (or any other kind of illness for that matter) remain vigilant and take the initiative to social distance as much as possible to help flatten the curve and curb the spread of the disease.

What are the current visa restrictions in Bali?

Currently, the Indonesian government has suspended all Visas On Arrival until further notice, AKA all tourism visas. This means that only those with official Temporary/Permanent Stay Permits (e.g KITAS or KITAP) and Limited Stay (e.g Business or Social Visas) granted from overseas embassies will be allowed entry. All arrivals must also present health certificates from relevant authorities and a negative PCR test from within the past 7 days. For more information on which visas are accepted and what documentation is required for arrivals, contact your nearest Indonesian Embassy, or follow the Bali COVID-19 Update Facebook group for daily (and accurate) updates.

For Indonesian citizens currently overseas, the government is urging you to return home immediately. Additional screening shall be carried out, and for suspected cases of COVID-19, a 14-day observation in a government facility will be applied. If no symptoms are found, a 14-day self-quarantine will be strongly recommended.

Top tips for those currently in Indonesia

Wash your hands frequently with soap. This may seem obvious, but it’s about time we all started washing our hands properly. That means thoroughly lathering the backs of your hands, in-between your fingers, and under your nails. Scrub for at least 20 seconds (or for as long as it takes to hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice) and then dry your hands with a clean towel. Use a hand sanitiser if you can’t wash your hands immediately.

Avoid contact with live animals, poultry and birds. That means that your visit to the zoo needs to be put on hold for a while, and that sushi and sashimi you’ve been craving? You might want to wait on that also, because the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended against the consumption of raw or undercooked meat. (Psst – luckily Bali is home to some awesome plant-based restaurants if you really want to be safe…)

Avoid crowded places and contact with people who are unwell. Yup, unfortunately it’s not the best time to rub shoulders with the masses at one of Bali’s biggest nightclubs – but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of Bali’s secluded destinations and off-the-beaten path adventures.

Down with a fever, cough or the flu? Wear a mask and seek medical attention right away. If for whatever reason you do not have your mask, cover your mouth with tissue paper whenever you cough or sneeze, and dispose of the tissue in a rubbish bin immediately.

Boost your immunity. A good one to practice not only during an outbreak but in everyday life too: boost your health and look after your immune system. Slurp on juices and coconuts (or even try one of Bali’s best juice cleanses), clock in enough exercise with an online class from one of Bali’s best gyms or yoga studios, and treat yourself to some stress-melting pampering with an at-home massage from one of Bali’s best spas. Top tip: try Indonesia’s age-old elixir of Jamu – a potent mixture of turmeric, tamarind, and sometimes ginger, lime and honey too. It’s an immunity-boosting traditional medicine that Indonesians swear by!

Check your travel and health insurance. If you booked your Bali holiday before the Coronavirus outbreak, chances are, your insurance is still valid. For everyone else, you will need to confirm with your provider to determine whether any COVID-related issues will be covered – that includes medical treatment, flight cancellations, and even accommodation allowances if you happen to be held up anywhere. Luckily, many airlines and hotels are waiving cancellation fees and honouring refunds.

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