The Jakarta Post
The Bali provincial administration has rejected Timor Leste’s request to put 17 of its citizens who are due to be repatriated from China due to the novel coronavirus outbreak into quarantine on the island.
The decision to reject the request was made during a meeting held by the administration on Monday.
“The relevant parties in the province did not agree to grant the request; therefore, it’s difficult for us to accept it," Bali Deputy Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati said on Monday, as quoted by kompas.com.
He previously said Timor Leste had asked for Indonesian permits and assistance to quarantine 17 of its citizens in Bali. The request was made through the Indonesian Embassy in Dili.
The decision was made based on considerations and input from several tourism stakeholders in Bali.
It is also in line with Indonesia’s policy to restrict travel to visitors from China because of the outbreak, by suspending flights to and from all regions in mainland China. Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said on Sunday that Indonesia would bar visitors who have been to China in the past 14 days. The ban will be effective starting Feb. 5.
Tjokorda said the provincial administration had responded to the government’s policy by asking all Bali tourism stakeholders, including hotel management and travel agents, to collect data on Chinese tourists who were still in Bali. The restriction is expected to affect Chinese tourists who have arrived since Feb. 2 because the average length time of Chinese tourists visiting Bali stay is four days, he added.
I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali would also follow the government’s restriction on people travelling from China.
“We will suspend 164 of 247 regular flights from Bali to China,” airport spokesperson Arie Ahsanurrohim said, as quoted by tribunnews.com.
The ban, however, would not apply to 55 flights to Hong Kong and 28 to Taipei, he went on to say.
The Indonesian Tour Guide Association (HPI) in Bali has reported that the viral outbreak has affected the island’s tourism as nearly 1,000 Chinese-speaking tour guides are currently unemployed.
HPI Bali Chairman I Nyoman Nuarta said some 1,300 people acted as guides for Chinese tourists visiting the island, about 80 percent of these focused on serving tourists from mainland China.
Some of the unemployed tour guides have switched to other work such as taxi driving and others have chosen to return to their hometowns, he said.
“Hopefully, this won’t last too long and there will soon be certainty,” he added. (syk)