Indonesia to partially reopen resort island Bali

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The Indonesian resort island of Bali will open to select international travelers, an official said (AFP/SONNY TUMBELAKA)

Indonesia will reopen the resort island of Bali to select international travellers next week, a senior minister said, after the pandemic starved the holiday hotspot of one of its primary sources of income.

The island's Ngurah Rai International Airport will be open to international travelers from South Korea, China, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Dubai, and New Zealand as of October 14, maritime and investment minister Luhut Panjaitan told a press conference.

The partial reopening, however, does not include Australia -- a key source of tourists before the pandemic.

"Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali will open internationally on 14th October 2021, as long as it meets the provisions and requirements regarding quarantine, Covid-19 tests, and the readiness of the Task Force," Panjaitan said.

He did not elaborate if tourists will be eligible to visit the island or if only those with a residence permit could come.

All international travellers will be required to have proof of hotel booked for a quarantine of at least eight days at their own expense, but it remains unclear what other restrictions may apply beyond that.

Indonesia was devastated by the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus and in mid July it recorded over 56,000 new Covid cases in just one day.

The government announced emergency restrictions in the hardest hit area, shutting down non-essential businesses and limiting people's movement.

Bali's tourism-dependent economy was also hit hard by the pandemic as millions of visitors disappeared from the palm-fringed island.

But case numbers are now falling as the government ramps up vaccinations, with the country reporting 922 new Covid-19 cases and 88 deaths on Monday.

Authorities have begun a steady easing of restrictions as the country sees a decrease in daily confirmed Covid cases and deaths, including in Bali.

Malls, movie theatres and offices in most cities have begun to reopen at reduced capacity and some schools have begun partial offline learning.

dsa/oho

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