Bali coronavirus deaths could be dire for Australian tourism

With Bali seeing a surge in coronavirus cases and a significant spike in the popular resort island’s death rate, Australians are being warned holidays to the Indonesian destination could be one of the last places we can visit in the world.

Locals are struggling to keep businesses afloat on the holiday island, and local tourism fails to meet the same tourist spend that the island received pre-pandemic.

With the island still plagued by empty beaches, deserted dance floors and whisper-quiet resorts, there’s fear the island’s recovery will get much worse before it gets better.

The holiday island – along with other parts of Indonesia – has seen a significant spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases since attempting to resurrect some form of tourism traffic on the island by welcome Indonesian locals to holiday in popular spots like Kuta, Ubud and Uluwatu.

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In the past months since the pandemic was declared, Bali has recorded a total of 9448 cases and nearing 300 total deaths.

The number of deaths has doubled in weeks with Bali recording 100 fatalities on September 4 and 199 on September 18.

As part of the island’s new domestic tourism recovery, it is understood around up to 4000 people are arriving on the island each day meaning Indonesians are now allowed to move between islands including into the holiday island of Bali.

Local epidemiologist Professor Gusti Ngurah Mahardika told 9News that because the island doesn’t know how to control the virus, they should consider going back into lockdown or risk a wave of cases.

“We don’t know where is the virus actually, how to control it,” he said. “Bali should be back in lockdown.”

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Bali announced they will not be opening to foreign tourists again this year, due to coronavirus concerns. Authorities had earlier announced overseas visitors would be allowed into the island from mid-September.

Professor Mahardika said the influx of local tourists had been the driving force behind the number increase, casting doubt on international tourism reopening anytime soon.

“Bali’s reopening has caused a public euphoria for local residents. They think Bali is open now so they’re free to do anything and they flock to tourist destinations,” local epidemiologist Dr I Gusti Ngurah Kade Mahardika said.

“I’ve said this so many times already. A lockdown is needed. All the indicators at the time showed the reopening of tourism in Bali should not have been allowed. But they did.”

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