A traveler wearing a face mask walks by a flight information board at the international departure terminal of I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali on Feb. 4, 2020. (Antara/Fikri Yusuf)

Nearly 100 foreigners denied entry to Bali amid China’s coronavirus travel ban


The Bali Immigration Office has denied entry to nearly 100 foreigners since the government put in place a restriction on those who had recently traveled to China from entering Indonesia’s territory, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. 

The Law and Human Rights Ministry’s Bali office head Sutrisno said that as of Friday, a total of 91 foreign nationals had been rejected from entering Bali, as they had traveled to mainland China — where the coronavirus first emerged — in the last two weeks. 

“They are citizens of various countries, including Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, the United States and others,” Sutrisno said. 

According to the ministry’s data, other foreigners denied entry to Bali include Armenians, Brazilians, Australians, Canadians, Britons and New Zealanders. 

The policy is in place based on the government-imposed travel ban to and from mainland China since Feb. 5, that bars travelers who have visited China over the past 14 days from visiting or transiting in Indonesia, and also halts the provision of visa-free and visa-on-arrival facilities for Chinese citizens. 

As a result of the ban, authorities previously estimated that at least 5,000 Chinese tourists in Bali are likely to be stranded there, since flights connecting Indonesia and mainland China have been temporarily suspended.

As of Thursday, some 300 Chinese nationals have applied to obtain emergency permits to stay longer in the country, which would be valid for one month, Sutrisno said. 

Jakarta has announced that it will facilitate and will not penalize Chinese tourists and workers who have overstayed their visas as result of the travel ban.

“If their country’s situation shows that it is still impossible for them to fly home, we can give them [another permit extension],” Sutrisno said. 

He went on to say that the Chinese Consulate General in Denpasar would be responsible for facilitating other necessary support for Chinese citizens stranded in Bali. 

The death toll from the coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, has passed 1,300 globally, since it first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December, 2019. More than 64,000 confirmed cases have been reported worldwide. 

Japan reported the first death from the virus on Friday, bringing the total deaths outside mainland China to three so far, with one in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines, Reuters reported. 

Indonesia has recorded no confirmed cases of coronavirus so far. (afr)