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Bali relaxes quarantine, visa rules on reopening push

Bali on Monday lifted quarantine for vaccinated tourists from more than 20 countries and reintroduced visas on arrival as the Indonesian holiday island continues to reopen after two years of Covid restrictions.

The easing comes as a wave of Omicron infections subsides across the Southeast Asian archipelago and after some international airlines have resumed direct flights in recent weeks.

“President Joko Widodo has agreed to test a no-quarantine policy for foreign travelers to Bali from March 7,” Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said in a briefing.

Visitors are exempt from isolation if they get a double shot and hold a negative PCR test and will have to show proof of a four-day hotel booking.

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Visas on arrival were suspended two years ago when the pandemic first hit Indonesia, but will again be available to travelers from 23 countries, including Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and France.

“If this trial succeeds, we will have a quarantine-free policy for travelers from all countries by April 1 or even earlier,” the minister added.

Bali Governor Wayan Koster said on Friday that the reforms are key to revitalizing the tourism sector, which used to be the island’s main source of income.

Nearly 6.3 million foreign tourists visited the Hindu-majority island in 2019, but numbers plummeted as Indonesia closed its borders to protect itself from the virus.

“We need to provide competitive travel rules for foreign tourists as other countries have opened their tourism industry before,” Koster said.

“Tourism in Bali has been stuck for two years and it is time for recovery.”

The latest Omicron-fueled wave of infections peaked at about 64,000 daily cases last month, but the number has since plummeted to about 25,000 on Sunday.

International flights are now back with daily services from Singapore as well as routes between Australia.

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