Bali Declares State of Emergency
On the 31st March the Balinese governor declared a state of emergency for Bali until the end of April to restrict the arrivals coming into Bali. This also includes social distancing controls such as closing all popular beaches and imposing a short but very tight lockdown.
Some restaurants near the surf camp have stayed open, while observing social distancing and reduced hours. Many non-essential stores, such as clothing shops in the local area, have removed all stock and closed completely.
Every day is like going back further and further in time, as fewer places are open and fewer people are out and about.
There is also pressure for the government to introduce such controls in the Jakarta area which they seem reluctant to do.
Sad Time for Tourism in Bali
As cases climb and local transmission has now been detected, the Indonesian central government have understandably imposed restrictions on foreigners arriving in the country during April.
In view of the local transmission, the governor is surely making the right decision in a very timely manner. The knock on effect of travel restrictions in other countries has already been felt for several weeks before the national and local lockdowns were enacted here in Bali, but it is comforting to see they are following suit.
For the 'tourists' choosing to stay, the Indonesian government have been very generous by declaring a 'force majeure' and allowing visa-free extensions for tourists and residents alike. At the moment foreigners can only arrive into Indonesia if they are residents or diplomats.
In Balian, two Balinese from a village 7km away were confirmed as COVID-19 positive and this led to restrictions on movement in this area. A particular concern of locals is migrant workers from Java looking for work, but even Balinese living 1km away are now not allowed to enter the village.
There are tighter controls on accessing the village in West Bali and the beach is now also closed. Hardly anyone has been allowed in for the past two weeks and expat residents are only allowed to leave the village for up to one hour.
Healthcare in Bali
Unlike other countries where tests are difficult if not impossible to obtain, it seems you can get a COVID-19 test in Sanglah hospital in Bali quickly and it is free. We read a lot that Indonesia does not have enough doctors, nurses, equipment and beds to handle a pandemic and that is true, but the underlying problem is that every other country is in the same situation.
There are positive signs that the authorities here are treating this seriously and taking appropriate action so that we do not have a health crisis.
The economic crisis is already here and will unfortunately continue to get much worse before it gets better.
We hope that the action already taken will ensure Bali does not suffer the same epidemic as less fortunate countries/regions.