Tough new COVID-19 rules for Aussies travelling to Bali
Aussies heading to Bali will be slapped with new entry requirements to prove they are free of the killer COVID-19 virus.
From May 28, visitors to the holiday island have to undergo a COVID-19 swab test prior to leaving Australia and produce medical certification to airlines and Indonesian authorities that clears them of having coronavirus.
Australians will also have to register with a Bali provincial government website that collects health data and provides travellers with a unique QR code, which will be mandatory when buying flights to the island.
Bali's Airport Authority chief Elfi Amir said that the swab test must be a full polymerase chain reaction - or PCR - test rather than a rapid test.
"We ask all visitors to Bali and all airlines to ensure that every person visiting our island has a PCR test performed before leaving their home country. All passengers flying into Ngurah Rai airport must have swab results that declare them COVID-19 negative, Mr Amir said.
PCR swabs detect genetic information of the virus - or the RNA - which is positive only if the virus is active and before the immune system creates antibodies. The PCR method is used throughout Australia in hospitals and testing 'drive-throughs.' With more than one million Australians already tested, the nation has among the highest COVID-19 testing rates in the world.
The faster rapid testing kits, which Balinese authorities sidelined as a less reliable option to check the health status of new arrivals, only identifies the body's response to coronavirus after it is infected and has formed antibodies.
The PCR test documentation must be valid for at least seven days after entering the island.
The Airport Authority and Bali's COVID-19 Task Force warned that arriving at the airport without the required paperwork could result in a rapid deportation rather than vacation.
Mr Amir called on airlines to inspect the COVID-19 free certification before they issue tickets for flights to the Indonesian hot spot which hosts more than 1.3 million Aussies every year.
Bali's Governor Wayan Koster demanded that the requirement be made policy in an effort to reduce infection rates.
The island currently has 90 active cases of coronavirus with four deaths from a total of 374 infections.
Aussies planning a trip also have to register on a provincial health website www.cekdiri.baliprov.go.id where health data is collected and a QR code is issued that must be shown when buying flights.
Bali COVID-19 Task Force executive chairman Dewa Made Indra said the policy applies to all foreign arrivals except flight attendants, who will only transit in Bali.
"We have created this policy to limit people from coming to Bali, so for those that do not have important or urgent reasons to come here, they should delay their trip," Mr Indra said.
Originally published as Tough new COVID-19 rules for Aussies travelling to Bali