Bali set to reopen to international tourists but not to Australians
One of Australia’s favourite holiday destinations will reopen to international visitors from this month, after borders were closed for more than a year due to the Covid-19 global pandemic.
But Aussies hoping to be sipping a Bintang while sitting on one of Bali’s famed beaches may need to put those plans on ice – with the Indonesian island only allowing a small group of countries in from October 14.
Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous country, has recorded more than 4.2 million Covid-19 cases to date. The deadly second wave in July, saw cases reach a daily average of 50,000. Now — in the first few days of October, the daily case figure is yet to hit 2,000.
Co-ordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said the airport will open to international flights as long as it fulfils requirements for quarantine and testing – with just a handful of countries making the green list, including China, New Zealand, South Korea, United Arab Emirates and Japan.
But there will be a costly catch for those vaccinated visitors entering the island.
International arrivals must show proof of hotel bookings for a mandatory eight-day quarantine – which will need to be paid for by the visitor.
While a number of steps are still to be finalised, Tourism and Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno said Bali’s reopening will focus on travellers and returning expatriates who used to live in Bali.
Previously, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin had hinted at reopening the popular resort island, after more than 70 per cent of the local population on Bali had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
The announcement comes just days after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia’s international border ban would be lifted some time in November, with the exact date varying from state to state depending on vaccination rates.
Since March 2020, an ban on international travel has been in place as a protective measure against Covid-19.
But after 18 months, vaccinated residents will be able to travel when their state’s vaccination rate hit 80 per cent. For NSW, for example, the milestone will be reached in a matter of weeks.
However, despite the excitement, a number of hurdles need to be cleared before international flights resume again.
“Firstly, we need home quarantine pilots in New South Wales and South Australia to conclude and be successful so they can be rolled out at scale,” Mr Morrison said.
Second, the seven-day home quarantine can only be completed by Australian citizens and permanent residents that are fully vaccinated with a vaccine recognised by the TGA.
Fourteen-day quarantine will still be in place for anyone not fully vaccinated or vaccinated with a vaccine not recognised by the TGA.
Mr Morrison said Australia was also working towards “completely quarantine-free travel for certain countries such as New Zealand when it is safe to do so”.
This article originally appeared on news.com.au and was reproduced with permission.