Bali eyes September re-opening even as cases mount

Passengers wait for their domestic flight at Bali Ngurah Rai airport on April 24. (AP pic)

DENPASAR: Bali says foreign tourists will be allowed to return by September as the Indonesian holiday island scrambles to repair its crippled vacation sector — even as coronavirus cases mount.

The island will re-open beaches, temples and other tourism spots for domestic visitors by the end of July, the governor said Sunday, and welcome foreign holidaymakers from Sept 11.

It was not immediately clear if vacationers from all countries would be allowed to visit, or if restrictions would be put in place on their arrival.

“We must continue to make the best efforts to handle Covid-19, while at the same time we must begin to carry out activities for the sake of community life,” said Bali Governor Wayan Koster.

The volume of flights to and from Bali plummeted during the global pandemic, leaving hotels empty and restaurants struggling to survive.

The island was relatively unaffected in the early days of the epidemic, but cases have jumped in recent weeks.

As of Monday, Bali reported 1,900 confirmed infections, with 23 deaths. Indonesia, the world’s fourth most-populous nation, has posted 65,000 cases and 3,241 deaths.

The real toll is widely believed to be much higher, however, with experts attributing the low figures to limited testing.