KARANGASEM, Indonesia – Bali conducted mass prayers on Sunday as the Indonesian resort island prepares to reopen to tourists shut out due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
More than a thousand people attended a prayer at Besakih Hindu temple in the town of Karangasem, expressing gratitude for the handling of the new coronavirus on the island and seeking blessings for the start of a “new normal”.
Bali has reported 1,849 coronavirus infections and 20 deaths so far, while Indonesia as a whole has recorded 63,749 cases and 3,171 deaths since early March.
The idyllic Southeast Asian island will gradually reopen this month for domestic tourists, while maintaining a “strict health protocol” to prevent the spread of the virus that causes Covid-19, Bali provincial secretary Dewa Made Indra told reporters.
The local government expects to reopen Bali to foreign arrivals in September.
Tourism is Bali’s main source of income. Travel restrictions due to the pandemic have hammered the local economy.