As the number of coronavirus(COVID-19) cases continue to rise, so does the impact on daily life for people across the globe. While it is disrupting businesses of all sectors in the regional and global economic scenario, one of the worst affected sectors is the travel industry.
Based on facts given by official sources and government bodies, here is an understanding of the current situation in one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Coronavirus in Bali, Indonesia
With the ongoing global outbreak of coronavirus, Indonesia has a rising number of cases confirmed currently. With more than 2,400 cases as on 6th April 2020, there is a risk that the limited healthcare system available will come under further strain as COVID-19 spreads. The local authorities, however, have introduced several measures to limit further spread of the virus.
“Based on the latest WHO (World Health Organization) report, there’s a significant increase in Covid-19 cases outside China in three countries – Spain, Italy and the United States of America. As a result, for the sake of all, Indonesia is issuing a new policy for travelers from these countries,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in a recent media briefing.
Indonesian President Jokowi banned all foreign arrivals and departures until further notice. Only people with proper work permits and diplomats have been exempted.
In a recent development, Indonesia’s Directorate General of Immigration announced a new policy that will automatically extend stay permits for all foreign nationals who landed in the country after February 5, 2020. It was further added that all eligible foreigners will not be subject to any kind of fine.
Travelers from other countries in which WHO has evidence of local transmission will need to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in Indonesia. (Source: WHO)
Travelling to Bali right now
While it is termed currently to be safer than most other international holiday destinations, local medical care is average, and some medical tests may not be reliable. Good medical care, if needed can be expensive; hence it is extremely important to have a fully covered travel insurance policy while travelling to Indonesia in this scenario. Balinese security is currently screening people for COVID-19 before entering bars and restaurants, and even at the airport, however its best to avoid crowded places wherever possible.
The Indian government also suspended all existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/international organisations, employment, project visas” until April 15 in an effort to self-quarantine itself.
Starting 18th March, India has further extended its ban on arriving international passengers including Indian passport holders residing in the United Kingdom, Turkey and whole of Europe till the end of March. (Source: WHO).
As the nation went on lock down from March 25, 2020, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Union Ministry stated that all foreigners stranded in India will be allowed to extend their e-visa. The Foreigners Regional Registration Office notified all foreigners to apply for visa extensions online for which the fee will not be charged.
Precautions to take while travelling
As per recommendations given by the World Health Organisation(WHO), it is necessary for travellers who are sick, to delay or avoid travel to affected areas. General personal hygiene precautions and keeping a distance of one metre from others showing symptoms remain important for travellers. Other recommendations include:
- Performing hand hygiene frequently, particularly after contact with respiratory secretions. Hand hygiene includes either cleaning hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Covering your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or paper tissue when coughing or sneezing and disposing of the tissue immediately;
- Refraining from touching mouth and nose;
- A medical mask is not required if exhibiting no symptoms, as there is no evidence that wearing a mask of any type protects healthy people. If masks are to be worn, it is critical to follow best practices on how to wear the same.
Travellers returning from affected countries are advised to self-monitor for 14 days and follow local health protocols. (Source: WHO)
As local governments are issuing regular travel advisories based on the changing scenarios, experts around the world have been asking travellers to monitor these closely to decide on their future travel. With the after-effects of this pandemic expected to last for another few months at least, there is an obvious hesitation among travellers for planning future trips. However, many providers are trying to address these concerns by providing temporary relief on change or cancellation penalties. While the impending question of travel in the near future remains unanswered, it is important to consider risk factors and the quality of healthcare available in the region in case of an emergency when planning a trip.
‘Curated by Neha Bhise’