Bali welcomed over 150,000 tourists in the first two weeks of March, an official said, with over 187,000 leaving the island during that same period amid the novel coronavirus outbreak that has affected at least 152 countries across the globe.
The latest data was announced by I Putu Surya Dharma, spokesperson from the regional office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, yesterday. Surya said that Australian tourists topped the number of foreign visitors leaving the island, with nearly 44,000, followed by Russian tourists and Indian tourists, with around 11,000 and 10,000 departures respectively, as reported by Bali Post.
Surya added that 115 foreign tourists have so far been rejected from entering Indonesia via Ngurah Rai International Airport, following the government’s decision to restrict access to travelers from South Korea, Iran, Italy and China from March 8.
Yesterday, Indonesia announced an expansion of its travel restrictions to include more countries that have reported high numbers of COVID-19 cases and a suspension of all visa waiver programs.
Bali has declared an “alert” level status for the island amid the COVID-19 pandemic, advising local residents to stay at home and avoid crowded places. There is no mention of closing tourist destinations on the island so far, though several tourist spots have taken the initiative to do so starting today, including Penglipuran village in Bangli regency.
According to Health Ministry data, as of this morning, Indonesia has 172 confirmed domestic COVID-19 cases, with nine recoveries and seven deaths. One of those deaths was a foreign patient in Bali, who died on March 11 at Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar.