JAKARTA: Nearly 2,000 foreigners have applied to extend their stay permit in Bali as lockdowns were imposed by their home countries because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The sight of hundreds of foreigners packing the immigration offices has become a norm on the island where the Law and Human Rights ministry have received 1,830 visa extension applications, according to kompas.com.
I Putu Surya Darma of the ministry said a majority of the applicants, about 80 per cent, are Chinese nationals while the rest are from Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and The United States.
They were registered in the immigration offices of Badung, Denpasar and Singaraja.
Bali, a hot spot for international tourists, has reported six cases, all of which authorities said originated outside the island.
The first case was that of a British tourist referred to as Case 25, who died at Sanglah Hospital and was only known to have Covid-19 after her death.
The second case was a foreign tourist from France, while the third and fourth cases were Balinese who had just returned from Italy and Jakarta, respectively.
Udayana University virologist Gusti Ngurah Mahardika said the low number of cases in Bali was "scientifically odd".
“If we look at the pattern of the disease, it is impossible (for Bali) not to have any local transmissions at this stage, as it is impossible for infected patients not to have had direct contact with other people while in Bali,” he said.
Before the government announced the country’s first cases in early March, Bali was the first region in Indonesia to have been linked to a number of cases affecting foreigners.
A week before President Joko Widodo’s announcement of the country’s first two cases on Mar 2, New Zealand confirmed its first Covid-19 case of a female citizen in her 60s who had travelled from Tehran to Auckland via Bali.
A Chinese national identified as Jin reportedly visited Bali in late January and tested positive for Covid-19 days after returning to his home country.
As of Monday, Indonesia announced 579 Covid-19 cases nationwide.