Mass Prayer in Bali as Island Prepares to Reopen to Tourists

BALI, INDONESIA, July 6, 2020 : Bali has held mass prayers as the Indonesian resort island prepares to reopen to tourists who have been shut out due to the coronavirus pandemic. More than a thousand people attended a prayer at Besakih Hindu temple in the town of Karangasem, expressing gratitude for the handling of Covid-19 on the island and seeking blessings for the start of a “new normal.” Bali has reported around 1,850 coronavirus infections and 20 deaths so far, while Indonesia as a whole has recorded more than 63,700 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, according to Bali provincial secretary Dewa Made Indra. The local government expects to reopen the island to foreign arrivals in September. Tourism is Bali’s main source of income and travel restrictions due to the pandemic have hammered the local economy.