A sudden spike in COVID-19 deaths in Bali has sparked fears the holiday island will be among the last destinations Australians can travel to.
The typically-bustling resort area of Kuta is now a ghost town, with virus cases soaring after domestic tourism was opened back up on July 31.
At the point Bali’s active coronavirus cases sat at 1,914 before climbing to 3,671 in September.
Meanwhile deaths increased six-fold with 207 last month.
In July, Bali’s active coronavirus cases sat at 1914 before soaring to 3671 in September
The typically-bustling resort area of Kuta now resembles a ghost town, while the virus continues to spread due to domestic tourism starting back up
Confirmed cases are believed to be only a fraction of actual COVID-19 infections, with Indonesia’s testing rate among the lowest in the world.
‘We don’t know where is the virus actually, how to control it,’ local epidemiologist Professor Gusti Ngurah Mahardika told 9News.
The rise in deaths and case numbers has led to concerns Australians won’t be allowed to travel to the party hotspot, with some suggesting tough new restrictions were imminent.
‘Bali should be back in lockdown,’ Professor Mahardika said.
Local business owners are feeling the pinch from the tourism decline.
More than 1,200 tourists would normally visit Waterbom Bali’s water slides everyday, but due to the pandemic the theme park is temporarily closed.
The virus has spread quicker in recent months as Indonesians are now allowed to move between islands
The popular Indonesian tourist island began welcoming domestic tourists back on July 31 after its tourism industry was smashed by the pandemic (Pictured: Healthcare workers take blood sample from citizen)
‘Tourists gave people a life and it’s so sad,’ CEO Sayan Gulino said.
Driver and father-of-three Wayan Arcayasa was forced to sell his car just to make ends meet.
‘Very, very sad honestly because we never know why the virus hit the world and hit us in tourism especially,’ he said.
Bali began welcoming domestic tourists back after its tourism industry was smashed by the pandemic.
And while authorities have put restrictions in place to slow the spread of the deadly disease, the number of cases has continued to rise.
Bali now has the fastest-rising death rates from coronavirus in Indonesia.
Estimates show numbers have increased by 500 per cent since the island reopened, with 241 COVID-19 related deaths recorded.
Local epidemiologist Dr I Gusti Ngurah Kade Mahardika said reopening the island to Indonesian tourists from outside Bali was to blame.
‘Bali’s reopening has caused a public euphoria for local residents. They think Bali is open now so they’re free to do anything and they flock to tourist destinations,’ he told the ABC.
Each day about 4,000 domestic tourists from Indonesia’s mainland flood to the island, which has been fuelling the crisis, Dr Mahardika said.
More than 307,000 people have contracted coronavirus in Indonesia, while 11,200 have died.
Meanwhile, The Morrison government has piled pressure on states to agree to a national coronavirus-hotspot definition by setting up a limited travel bubble with New Zealand.
From October 16, Kiwis will be allowed to enter NSW and the Northern Territory without having to quarantine.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said signing up to the hotspot definition allowed those jurisdictions to be included in the deal.
From October 16, Kiwis will be allowed to enter NSW and the Northern Territory without having to quarantine. Pictured: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
He said exempting New Zealanders from mandatory two-week hotel stays would free up 325 quarantine places a week.
‘This trans-Tasman bubble means that there are going to be more places open for more Australians to come home from abroad,’ the Nationals leader told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
Extending the bubble to Queensland would free up a further 250 hotel spots, he said.
The hotspot definition means people from New Zealand are not allowed to enter Australia if they have been anywhere which has recorded more than three cases in three days.
South Australia is likely to be the next to join the bubble when its government signs up to the hotspot definition.