As countries like China prepare to allow foreign travelers after months of empty international airport terminals, Indonesia itself was set to join the club next week—with its most enticing destination being the idyllic resort island of Bali.
Airlines and international tour operators were looking to resume trips, but most of all, the estimated 60% to 80% of Bali locals who depend on tourism for a living were counting down the days.
Then the country’s coronavirus numbers spiked.
Bali, about the size of Delaware but with four times the population, has reported roughly 5,710 of Indonesia’s 185,000 total coronavirus cases since March. That may seem relatively small to Americans, but the worrying aspect is the recent uptick—Sept. 3 was the highest one-day tally on record.
The island has been closed to foreigners since April, but it began allowing local Indonesian visitors last month. Soon after, the