BREAKING NEWS: COVID Rates Growing in Bali

There are worrying signs that COVID-19 may be staging an infectious comeback in Bali. Both and report that government authorities in Bali are asking the public to take precautionary steps of following health and hygiene protocols to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus that, despite an ongoing vaccination program, is still manifesting a growing number of positive cases at the Island’s hospitals and health centers.

The head of Bali’s Provincial Health Department, Dr. I Nyoman Gede Anom, has confirmed at least 43 cases spread across six regencies and the city of Denpasar in December 2023. The count in the second week of December 2023 showed the following proven positive cases of COVID-19 broken down by region: Jambrana Regency (8), Tabanan (1), Badung (24), Gianyar (6), Karangasem (9), Buleleng (1) and the City of Denpasar (11).

One recent death in Denpasar is linked to COVID-19.

The most populous southern regions of the Island – Denpasar and Badung, report a combined 45 cases of COVID-19.

Data published by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 22 November 2023 reported that several countries, including Russia, Italy, Singapore, Australia, and Poland, were all showing increasing rates of coronavirus infection. Indonesia’s near-neighbor of Singapore reports that COVID-19 cases are demonstrating a two-fold increase in the disease, dominated by the subvariant EG-5.

“The EG-5 sub-variant is a descendent of the omicron variant and is classified under the category of ‘variant of interest (VOI).’ Globally, the EG-5 subvariant is dominating in all regions monitored by the WHO, including America, Europe, and the Western Pacific,” said Gede Anom.

The government is urging the public to be required to wear surgical masks in response to the increase in COVID-19 cases in Indonesia and the region.

Anom stated that the characteristics of the EG-5 sub-variant can cause an increase in new infections due to its resistance to pre-existing acquired immunity. Going forward, this translates to an easier spread of the disease that, fortunately, is not demonstrating greater virulence of pre-existing strains of COVID-19.

Nationally, new cases of COVID-19 are also on the increase. Since the 41st week of 2023 (8-14 October 2023), Indonesia has recorded a rise in COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths.

Responding to a potential health crisis ahead, the Indonesian Ministry of Health has issued a circular memorandum (nomor HK.02.02/C/4815/2023) instructing steps be taken to safeguard against the disease at Indonesia’s international ports of entry and preparedness be enhanced at laboratories and medical facilities.

Meanwhile, Port Health Officials for the airport and seaports in Bali are distributing surgical masks to arriving tourists in combination with a public information campaign based on “communication, information, and education.”

Gede Anom calls for increasing public immunity to COVID-19 through vaccination and second booster injections. The Island’s top health officer also wants people to wear surgical masks in public and while traveling on public transport.

Doctor Anom recommends calm amongst the public while urging adherence to health and hygiene protocols. “The public should not panic because the severity of the current strain is quite low.”

Dr. Anom Gede Anom – Head of Bali Provincial Health Departmen

The current stock of COVID-19 vaccines stocked by the Bali Provincial Health Department stands at 705 dosages, with officials already requesting an urgent supply of 5,000 additional dosages from Jakarta.

Doctor Anom said that individuals testing positive for COVID-19 do not manifest the pronounced symptoms experienced during the pandemic. New cases identified as positive for COVID-19 are not being isolated but only asked to follow health and hygiene protocols, chiefly wearing surgical masks to prevent contagion. 

Currently, diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is limited to hospital patients exhibiting flu-like symptoms. No instructions from the National Health Department have been issued mandating testing outside the hospital setting. 

Doctor Anom recommends calm amongst the public while urging adherence to health and hygiene protocols. “The public should not panic because the severity of the current strain is quite low,” he said.

Related Links

Domestic Arrivals Up as COVID-Testing Ends

COVID Tests Not Needed for Domestic Travel

Bali on 07 March: No Quarantine & VOA Back 

Towards Living Endemically with COVID-19

Indonesia Heads Toward an Endemic Future

Learning to Live Endemically with COVID

Living in a COVID-19 Endemic World

Indonesians Learning to Live with COVID

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