A banner stops tourists from entering Kuta Beach in Bali on Friday. (Antara Photo/Nyoman Budhiana)

More Than 80 Percent of Coronavirus Cases in Bali Are Imported

BY :I NYOMAN MARDIKA

APRIL 22, 2020

Denpasar. The regional secretary of the Bali provincial government and the head of the tourist island's Covid-19 Task Force, Dewa Made Indra, said 82.67 percent of confirmed coronavirus cases on the island were imported cases from overseas. The rest, 17.33 percent, were the results of local transmissions. 

The data will help determine the provincial government's strategy in trying to curb the spread of the coronavirus on Indonesia's number one tourist spot. 

"Since the majority of cases are imported, we will employ stricter screening at [immigration] gates into Bali. We will have body temperature checks and also rapid testing," Dewa said in a statement released in Denpasar on Tuesday.

The goal is to detect all positive Covid-19 cases in Bali immediately.

The provincial government will treat the coronavirus patients on the island until they fully recover. 

As of Tuesday, there have been 150 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Bali. A total of 99 were imported cases involving people with a history of travel overseas, and 17 people were infected in other areas in Indonesia outside Bali.

A total of 42 patients have recovered from the viral infection and three have died.

"These imported cases are difficult for us to control. We have many migrant workers who are only now returning to Bali," Dewa said.

He said the migrant workers have returned to Bali because they have either been laid off or put on forced unpaid leave by their employers.

The provincial government will not prevent these migrant workers from returning home. 

"They will be put through a rigorous health check. Those who have the virus will be isolated to prevent transmissions," Dewa said.

A total of 300 Indonesian crew members from the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship had arrived at Benoa Harbor in Denpasar on Sunday.

Since then, a total of 18,335 people around the area had been subjected to rapid testing for coronavirus. 

They include returning migrant workers, medical workers who have been treating Covid-19 patients, airport staff, quarantine officers and other regional government staff.

Dewa said even though only 26 out of the total 150 positive coronavirus cases on the island were the results of local transmission, the provincial government still follows the coronavirus mitigation protocols issued by the National Covid-19 Task Force. 

"We hope to keep the number of local transmissions under control. We will need a different strategy to what we use on the imported cases," he said.

Bali Governor I Wayan Koster so far has not considered implementing a large-scale social restriction (PSBB) in Bali.

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