Destinations

“We have missed Australians so much”: Bali aims for herd immunity and open borders by July

Bali is planing to reopen to international tourists “within weeks”, with local authorities expecting to have “green zones” 100 per cent vaccinated by July.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced plans to reopen parts of the archipelago to international travellers in July, starting with destinations including Bali, Batam and Binta, to kickstart tourism for the country, according to a release from Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism.

Vaccinating the province has been a priority for Indonesia, especially for three COVID-19-free green zones: Ubud, Sanur and Nusa Dua.

Local authorities plan to have the three zones 100 per cent vaccinated by July, with the rest of Bali expected to reach 70 per cent inoculation in the same month.

Minister of Maritime and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, predicted the vaccination program will create herd immunity in Bali by the end of July 2021.

On 4 June, Deputy Governor of Bali Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, also known as Cok Ace, said almost 50 per cent of the vaccination target in Bali had been achieved.

“The whole population of Bali is approximately 4.32 million. According to WHO standards, to achieve herd immunity, we must strive to vaccinate 70 per cent of the whole population, which is around 3 million,” he said.

“Currently, almost 50 per cent of that number has received vaccinations.”

Cok Ace told The Sydney Morning Herald that Bali was ready to reboot and plans to open up next month if it can get approval from the Indonesian government.

Meanwhile, the rest of Indonesia is buckling under its heaviest number of COVID-19 cases since January, recording 13,737 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday alone and 125,303 active cases.

However, Bali has been relatively protected from the disease recording 485 active cases as of Thursday.

“We have missed Australians [so] much. We want the Australians back soon to Bali. We do hope we will see the Australians in Bali in 2021,” Cok Ace said.

“We need foreign tourists to reactivate our tourism activities better, [but] certainly we will always protect Bali people’s health first.”

To travel abroad, Australians currently need to be granted a special government exemption, as well as shelling out $3,000 for a 14-night stay in hotel quarantine upon return.

On 10 June, Health Minister Greg Hunt extended the human biosecurity emergency period, banning Australians from leaving the country for a further three months, with its new potential end date falling on 17 September.

Indonesian officials told SMH they hope a successful re-opening would see Australians return to Bali faster than expected.


Featured image source: iStock/intek1


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