July 23, 2021

Bali reports daily record of 1,250 cases and 33 deaths, hospital occupancy over 75% + Indonesia passes 3 million total cases + WHO calls for tougher restrictions as Jokowi considers easing PPKM + more

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Weather & Tides

Today’s Weather for Southern Bali

Today’s Tides

Local Covid Numbers

*Note: It was Bali’s deadliest day of the pandemic yesterday with 33 new deaths, bringing the official death toll to 1,873. A record 1,250 cases were reported, with 8 returned overseas travelers and 219 domestic travelers among them. The 7-day average has almost passed 1,000 and currently stands at 989.

Click here to see the national numbers infographic and a Regency-by-Regency breakdown of yesterday’s local numbers.

The Big News

"Bali's Covid-19 Cases and Deaths Hit Record Highs" from Antara Bali (Indonesian): The Bali Province Covid-19 Task Force recorded 1,250 additional cases on Thursday, the highest additional daily case record in the province. "The highest additional cases occurred in Denpasar with 579 people, followed by Badung Regency (178) and Buleleng (165)," said Daily Head of the Bali Province Covid-19 Handling Task Force, Dewa Made Indra. With the addition of 1,250 cases, the cumulative number of confirmed cases in Bali Province has increased to 65,257. On Thursday it was also recorded that 652 people had recovered from Covid-19, bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 54,759 (83.91%). In addition, 33 covid-19 positive patients died, which is also the highest additional daily death record. This brought Bali's total deaths to 1,873 (2.87%). In the last week, additional cases in Bali have been above 1,000 three times, on Saturday (1,019), Wednesday (1,111), and Thursday. The majority of districts in Bali have a bed occupancy rate of over 75%, some even approaching 100%, such as Buleleng (99.45%), Gianyar (92.5%), Karangasem (86.92%), Tabanan (81.68%), and Denpasar (80.67%).

"Indonesia Passes 3 Million Covid-19 Cases" from The Jakarta Globe: The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Indonesia exceeded the 3 million mark on Thursday amid a dramatic surge in new infections and record-breaking daily death toll attributed to the highly transmissible Delta strain. The grim milestone arrived after the country recorded 49,509 cases in the past 24 hours to take its total to 3.03 million. A further 1,449 people have died from Covid-19 in the 24-hour period to set a new record in the daily death toll for the third day in a row. Indonesia has recorded 79,032 Covid-related deaths since the pandemic started. The past week has been the deadliest period in the Indonesian outbreak with daily fatality numbers topping 1,000 since July 16. “We cannot tolerate this anymore. This is more than just statistics, we are talking about family members, relatives, friends, and loved ones who have left us,” National Covid-19 Task Force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito said. Only 14 countries in the world have exceeded 3 million Covid-19 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Indonesia has recorded more Covid-19 deaths than Turkey, which has registered a total of 50,709 deaths from 5.6 million cases. There are currently 561,384 active cases of coronavirus across the country, mostly on the main island of Java.

"WHO Calls for Tougher Restrictions as Jokowi Mulls Easing Lockdown" from Reuters: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday urged Indonesia to implement a stricter and wider lockdown to combat surging COVID-19 infections and deaths, just days after the country's president flagged the easing of restrictions. In its latest situation report, the WHO said strict implementation of public health and social restrictions were crucial and called for additional "urgent action" to address sharp rises in infections in 13 of Indonesia's 34 provinces. "Indonesia is currently facing a very high transmission level, and it is indicative of the utmost importance of implementing stringent public health and social measures, especially movement restrictions, throughout the country," it said. On Tuesday, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo flagged an easing of restrictions from next week, citing official data showing a fall in infections in recent days, which epidemiologists say has been driven by a drop in testing from already low levels. "If the trend of cases continues to decline, then on July 26, 2021, the government will gradually lift restrictions," President Jokowi said.

Context: After Indonesia recorded 33,772 new cases on Wednesday, the figure rose to 49,509 on Thursday.

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Other Headlines

"Aviation Analyst Lauds Indonesia's Entry Restrictions for Foreigners" from Antara: The recent regulation restricting the entry of foreigners into Indonesia, enacted by the Law and Human Rights Ministry, is a good step to control COVID-19 spread in the country, according to aviation analyst Alvin Lie. "International arrivals are (behind) the entry of new variants (of the coronavirus)," he said. The new regulation is better because it does not restrict only foreign workers' arrival, but also regulates restrictions for all overseas foreigners visiting Indonesia, he added. Minister of Law and Human Rights, Yasonna Laoly, on July 19, 2021 enacted the Law and Human Rights Ministry Regulation No. 27/2021 on restrictions on foreigners' entry into Indonesia amid the emergency community restrictions enforcement. The regulation restricts entry of most foreigners, except those holding diplomatic and official visas, diplomatic and official stay permits, and temporary and permanent stay permits will be allowed entry into Indonesia. Foreigners attached with healthcare and humanitarian missions and transport crew of vessels will be allowed entry as well under the regulation.

Vaccination Update

Health Protocols (Prokes) & Health Services

"545 Businesses Violated Emergency PPKM Rules in Badung: Official" from Coconuts Bali: Hundreds of businesses in Bali’s Badung regency were found to have violated the rules during the Emergency Enforcement of Restrictions on Public Activities (Emergency PPKM), leading to several administrative sanctions and temporary closures. The Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) in Badung said they had caught 545 businesses in violation, 17 of which were subject to temporary closures. Most of the others were given written warnings, while a few had to pay a fine of IDR1 million (US$68.98). “There were also a bunch of individual violations, about 105 people,” Head of Satpol PP Badung, I Gusti Agung Ketut Suryanegara, said. According to Suryanegara, individual violations were mostly found in North Kuta, while business violations were more concentrated in South Kuta.


Economy & Infrastructure

"After More Than a Month, Blahbatuh Market Traders Yet to Receive Stimulus" from Radar Bali (Indonesian): After the Blahbatuh Public Market fire on June 16, the fate of traders to obtain stimulus is not yet clear. The disbursement is still awaiting processing at the Gianyar Regional Assets Financial Revenue Agency (BPKAD). The stimulus for 449 traders has been promised by the local government. After verification by the Gianyar Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPDB), currently the data is with the Gianyar BPKAD. "It has been submitted to the Regional Financial and Asset Management Agency (BPKAD), currently the process is still being examined," said Head of BPBD Gianyar, Ida Bagus Suamba. Meanwhile, the Head of the Gianyar BPKAD, Ngakan Jati Ambarsika, said that the disbursement of the stimulus was still in the administrative stage. "We are currently processing the payment administration. We are trying to do it as soon as possible," he said.


"Former Buleleng Secretary Becomes Suspect of Gratification for North Bali Airport Development" from Kumpuran (Indonesian): The Bali High Prosecutor's Office (Kejati) has named the former Buleleng Regency Secretary (Sekda) with the initials DKP as a suspect in a number of cases of gratification and corruption. Acting Attorney General of Bali Hutama Wisnu revealed that there has been an investigation warrant related to gratification. "There are several actions, 27 witnesses have been examined and named suspects in this case," he said. Some of the cases include allegations of gratification in the construction project of North Bali Airport in Buleleng Regency in 2018. In addition, processing permits for the construction of the LNG Celukan Bawang terminal. DKP's lawyer, Agus Sujoko, said if the case is related to the permit for the construction of the North Bali Airport, it did not make sense. This is because the authority to issue permits lies with the Ministry of Transportation, which is not related to the position of the Regional Secretary.

"United States Government Returns Three Indonesian Cultural Heritage Objects" from Kompas (Indonesian): The United States (US) government, represented by New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., has returned three objects of suspected Indonesian cultural heritage (ODCB) to the Indonesian Consul General in New York, Arifi Saiman. The return of the objects is the result of the US government's criminal investigation into criminal heritage crimes involving looting, smuggling, and the illegal sale of ancient artifacts. The three objects are a statue of Lord Shiva measuring 6x4x8.25 inches, which are estimated to be worth around Rp.596.8 million. Arifi Saiman said he would always support efforts to investigate artifacts allegedly smuggled from Indonesia to the US, which in turn can be returned to the Indonesian government. Cyrus Vance said cultural heritage crimes involving the looting and illegal sale of ancient artifacts were an attack on an integral link in the history of a nation to the present and the future.

"Indonesian Professor Discovers New, Healthy Breed of Rice" from The Jakarta Post: An Indonesian professor working at an American university has discovered a new variety of rice that carries a low glycemic load, which many consider to be crucial in the fight against diabetes and obesity. Herry Utomo, a professor at Louisiana State University's Rice Research Station and his team of researchers made fundamental changes to the rice grain to allow slower digestion of carbohydrates into glucose, making it safe for diabetic people to eat. "The team of researchers also increased the rice grain's protein content to 50 percent more than the protein content of typical rice," Herry said. As a result, the newly invented rice has an average GI index of 41, which was determined based on human clinical trials on cooked white rice. In general, high carbohydrate food, such as wheat, has an average glycemic index of 74; potatoes, 78; and corn, 55. Rice has an average glycemic index of 73 and, therefore, is categorized as a high glycemic food source. Given this glycemic index, rice, which is the main staple food in Asia and Indonesia in particular, has been blamed for diabetes and obesity.

"Viet Thanh Nguyen, André Aciman, Eva Bande to Grace This Year’s Ubud Writers and Readers Festival" from Coconuts Bali: Award-winning writers, from Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen to Call Me by Your Name author André Aciman, will be headlining this year’s edition of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF), among a diverse range of fresh perspectives seeking to explore the chosen theme of self-reflection. The region’s biggest festival of words is scheduled to take place from Oct. 8 to 17 in 2021, taking up space both virtually and on-site in Ubud (with strict health protocols and social-distancing measures, organizers say). With Balinese-Hindu philosophy Mulat Sarira as its theme, the festival says that “self-reflection is more appropriate” now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its 18th year, UWRF is featuring some exciting names from the literary world and beyond, as shown by this week’s announcement of their first round of storytellers. Nguyen — whose novel The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction — and Aciman will be joined by Indian writer and recipient of India’s highest literary honor Jnanpith award Amitav Ghosh, Mexican-American poet Ada Limón, Australian journalist, broadcaster and author, Julia Baird, as well as acclaimed Indonesian writers Budi Darma and Felix K. Nesi.

Context: To view the full list of first-round speakers, head to the UWRF website.

Of Interest

Weekend Reads

How You Can Help

In response to the collapse of the tourism sector in Bali and the resulting economic crisis, dozens of individuals and organizations have sprung into action, raising funds and distributing badly needed food and everyday essentials to the innumerable families who have suddenly found themselves without any source of income. We've been making an effort to document and raise awareness of these efforts. We will add information on projects in this space as we are able to confirm them. If you'd like to see a list of the efforts that we've featured so far and contribute to them with either time or money, visit our complete list here. You can also see a list of projects that have registered themselves with Bali Solidarity. If you know of an effort and would like to have them listed, please send their information to TheBaliBeat@outlanders.global.

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