Bali to reopen direct flights from China, Japan, South Korea

Bali to reopen direct flights from China, Japan, South Korea

A man carries a canoe during sunrise at a beach in Sanur on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on Sept 28, 2021. (AFP photo)
A man carries a canoe during sunrise at a beach in Sanur on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on Sept 28, 2021. (AFP photo)

Indonesia’s tourist spot Bali will start allowing direct arrivals from China, Japan and South Korea as a receding Covid-19 outbreak lets the country ease restrictions further.

Foreign visitors from New Zealand, Qatar and United Arab Emirates can also enter the country through the island’s Ngurah Rai International Airport starting from Oct 14, said Luhut Panjaitan, coordinating minister for investment and maritime affairs who’s overseeing the pandemic response. Only Jakarta and Manado airports are currently open to international arrivals.

Bali’s reopening has been delayed several times when Southeast Asia’s largest economy struggled to contain its coronavirus outbreak. As the government boosted testing and quickened vaccination, the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths have now eased to the lowest levels in more than a year.

Indonesia has already resumed offshore visa applications and allowed more types of entry permits into the country, while requiring proof of full vaccination. International travellers will need to quarantine for eight days before they can go out on the streets. 

The government’s food and drug regulator, known as BPOM, and the health ministry are reviewing the antiviral drug molnupiravir developed by Merck & Co and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP to treat Covid, and it is expecting the result at the end of the year, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in the same event.

The government is now allowing fitness centres and restaurants in cinemas to reopen with limited capacity and strict health protocols. A youth basketball competition in Jakarta and Surabaya is also allowed to proceed. Authorities reported 922 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the lowest since June 21, 2020. More than 4.2 million people in the country have tested positive for the virus, with 142,261 total fatalities, according to the health ministry data.

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