NEWS: Bali closed until 2021? and Why Iceland’s probably off your list if not the government’s

Bali

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Bali’s closed until at least 2021?

Viceroy Bali

Like so many countries Asia, Bali had made statements about the island reopening in September for international tourism, only to do a u-turn nearer the time. The coordinating maritime affairs and investment minister Luhut Pandjaitan, who oversees the tourism sector this week said that Indonesia would be prudent about re-admitting foreign tourists:

“We are not going to reopen immediately. We must carefully select the originating countries. We are studying this carefully day to day.”

According to The Jakarta Post, Bali recently reopened to domestic tourists and so far infection rates have remained stable. The island had been looking at attracting foreigners to work from Bali like other countries such as Bermuda who hope to get more tourist dollars by inviting long term visitors who are less of a risk. 

The minister also added that the government had not set an exact date for the program as it was still focusing on domestic tourism to help revive.

“We won’t be welcoming foreign tourists until the end of this year,” he said. Whether he meant that for any tourists or long stay visitors was not clear, but either way it looks like one of the last remaining hopes for Asia to open up before the end of the year has been dashed. 

HT: Loyalty Lobby

 

Why Iceland’s probably off your list if not the government’s

Tourist watches Aurora over fjord, Iceland

Iceland was one of the first countries to try to reintroduce tourism in a safe and controlled way. With mandatory negative COVID testing either on or before arrival, it was somewhere that I had been considering as a safe destination and was on the travel corridor list too. Sadly like many European countries, Iceland has seen a rise in cases recently and so decided to strengthen its entry requirements. For most people, this will mean that a trip will not be tenable. However, it does seem like something the UK government should be doing to reduce the 14-day quarantine here safely to help the travel industry. 

The Government of Iceland has decided to impose more comprehensive border-screening measures as of 19 August. All arriving passengers must then choose between a 14-day quarantine or a double testing procedure along with quarantine for 5-6 days.

The double border-screening procedure requires all passengers arriving in Iceland to undergo two PCR-tests: one upon arrival and another 5-6 days later to minimize the risk of a false negative causing infection to spread in the community. During this period, all arriving passengers must stay in quarantine in case of a possible infection. Those who test negative in the second PCR-test are no longer required to take special precautions. Those who test positive must self-isolate. Alternatively, arriving passengers can choose to stay in 14-day quarantine without undergoing any tests. Children born in 2005 and later are exempt from the double border-screening procedure.

All arriving passengers are still required to preregister before arrival.

Since 23 July, two new clusters of infections have been identified in Iceland. One was almost immediately contained, and the rate of infection for the other one has slowed down significantly. Iceland’s 14-day domestic incidence is now 21 per 100 thousand inhabitants, down from 27 one week ago. Currently, there are 112 active infections, 642 are self-quarantined, and one is hospitalised.

“Given the uptick in infections worldwide and the widespread effect that a small infection can have on the functioning of our society, the Government has decided to strengthen our border-screening measures to further limit the number of infections entering the country. These measures will be reviewed and revised according to how the situation develops, both domestically and internationally,” says Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir. “However, we know that there is no way of eliminating the risk of infection. We are confident that our well-established measures of testing, tracing, and isolating, will continue to serve an important role, along with effective early treatment of all patients.”

“We will continue to monitor the trends in Europe and elsewhere very closely and adjust our recommendations accordingly, both as regards border measures and preventive social measures,” says Thórólfur Gudnason, Chief Epidemiologist. “Unfortunately, the pandemic is on the rise again in Europe but we are yet to see how severe the impact of this second outbreak will be, now that we have much better information and improved treatment options to combat the pandemic.”

4 Comments on "NEWS: Bali closed until 2021? and Why Iceland’s probably off your list if not the government’s"

  1. Gordon Chalker | 17 August 2020 at 8:14 am |

    At the beginning of the year I Booked hotels in Bali and Thailand for November 2020, So I guess it’s just a matter of waiting until the inevitable time comes to cancel the flights and hotels.
    It is frustrating and also there will be the financial implications that come with cancellations, But I guess it’s the times we live in now.
    But the main thing is countries and people staying safe.

    • If you have flights booked with Qatar then you may be eligible to change destination. I have Singapore and Hong Kong booked so considering the Maldives as an option although it will cost more very likely.

  2. Gordon Chalker | 17 August 2020 at 8:23 am |

    ??

  3. I’m supposed to be going to Iceland in September and will likely have to cancel now the regulations have changed. I knew it was a gamble when I booked it, but as they were one of the first countries to ‘open their doors’ I thought it was a low-ish risk gamble. Just goes to show this is something we’re going to have to live with going forward I suspect.
    But for the sake of a 6 day trip, I can’t quarantine for 5-6 of those days.

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