Image: President Jokowi. Credit: IG @jokowi.
Bali reported 11 new positive cases of Covid-19 on Monday evening. Of those, nine were imported cases while the other two people were local transmissions. That makes a total of 359 people, who have been tested positive consisting of eight foreigners and 351 Indonesian citizens.
As of yesterday, 257 positive patients had been declared cured and there were still a total of four deaths in relation to Covid-19 on the island.
The central Indonesian government announced that they are preparing a new protocol to regulate the “new normal” when dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, with slow steps to reopen the nation’s economy, while the provinces of Bali, Yogya and the Riau Island become the first pilot reopening projects.
“The first phase is Bali, Yogyakarta and the Riau Islands or Batam. That is now a super priority. Bali will be made a pilot project by the President and has been approved to open earlier,” said member of the Indonesian Covid-19 Task Force, Rai Suryawijaya.
According to Rai, Bali will start the ‘new normal’ protocol in July.
“Bali was chosen because of it’s a national tourism hub, it is easier to sell because of its name and fame, and Bali facilities are considered the most ready,” added Rai.
Rai further said, due to the corona virus, there were more than 1.2 million people directly negatively affected by the corona virus on the island, most in the hotel and restaurant sector.
“Employees are laid off with a basic salary of 50%, laid off without a salary, and finally just laid off. We are fighting for them,” Rai, who is also the Chairperson of the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI) in Bali, told BBC Indonesia.
In relation to the President’s decision, Chairman of the Bali Covid-19 Task Force, Dewa Made Indra was quoted in Bali Post as saying at last night’s videoed press conference, “The Covid-19 pandemic has now forced people to stay close to home for two months. It is not possible to keep people at home for months at a time. Plus, there is no certainty when the pandemic will end, but as the President said, the community needs to be productive and safe.”
If it is not safe, then the easing of activities can lead to a renewed spread of the virus. “Therefore, we must understand the dynamics of policies that have begun to loosen community activities in this context,” he added.
Bali, continued Dewa Indra, could not go against the national policy.
“These days we also see more people on the road because they have to work to make ends meet. But we also see more citizens of our community wearing masks. Hopefully followed by diligent hand washing and distance,” he explained.
Dewa Indra added, the central government is indeed pushing Bali to become the first region to live a normal life by reopening economic activities. However, Bali Governor Wayan Koster is still delaying that process.
The local transmission is the governor’s main consideration. Although it is still lower compared to imported cases, local transmission cannot be ignored.
“Governor Koster has committed that as soon as Covid-19 has a sloping graph and is decreasing, he will direct Bali to open, but not immediately 100 percent,” he explained.
Dewa Indra mentioned that there are certain priorities which may be opened first. “Do not let the desire to live a normal life actually produce unexpected results. It must be done very carefully,” he said.
But indeed, the provincial government of Bali already has a scheme for normalization. “Today we are still focused on controlling Covid-19, and especially the local transmissions. This is a struggle from day to day,” he finished.