Bali tourists say Coronavirus won’t spoil their holidays

UNTV News   •   March 5, 2020   •   1184

The idyllic holiday island of Bali has also been hit by the effects of the coronavirus crisis, with 40,000 hotel bookings already having been cancelled and the island’s economy standing to lose almost $110 million per month as Bali’s Tourism Board reported.

With only two cases reported so far, the island particularly suffers from the cancellation of all flights to and from China, one of its biggest tourist markets.

Around a million Chinese tourists visit the holiday island every year. It is the second-largest group of foreign arrivals after Australians.

Bali’s airport spokesman told state news agency Antara this week that in the first half of February about 740,000 people visited the island, 16.25% fewer than the same period last year, despite precautionary measures like spraying disinfectants or measuring the temperature of all passengers upon arrival.

Bali’s Deputy Governor, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, told media after a meeting of the local parliament that tourism in Bali has declined by 30 percent due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Tourists who lounged at Bali’s idyllic beaches said the situation was still manageable as only a few positive cases had been reported.

Indonesia President, Joko Widodo, had announced on Monday that a mother and daughter had tested positive to the virus. The discovery of the first cases came after some medical experts had raised concerns about lack of vigilance and a risk of undetected cases in the country of more than 260 million people. (REUTERS CONNECT)

(Production: I Wayan Sukarda, Sultan Anshori, Heru Asprihanto, Ute Swart)

WHO monitoring new coronavirus variant called ‘Mu’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 1, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it is monitoring a new coronavirus variant called Mu.

According to the WHO bulletin on Tuesday (August 31), the Mu variant or B.1.621, has been classified as a “variant of interest.”

The variant was first detected in Columbia on January 2021 and was designated as a variant of interest on August 30, 2021.

Preliminary data showed that the Mu variant has the same behavior as the Beta variant. However, the WHO added that the data still needs to be confirmed by further studies.

“The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” the bulletin said.

There are currently five variants of interests namely Eta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, and the Mu variant. Variants of interest are defined by the WHO as variants “identified to cause significant community transmission or multiple COVID-19 clusters, in multiple countries with increasing relative prevalence alongside increasing number of cases over time.” AAC

PCG in S. Mindanao orders intensified patrols vs. illegal entry of travelers from Indonesia

Marje Pelayo   •   July 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Southern Mindanao recently ordered its station, sub-stations, floating assets, and operational control (OPCON) units to carry out intensified monitoring and regular border patrols in the region to prevent illegal entry of people from Indonesia.

The directive comes after reports of surge in Delta variant cases wreaking havoc in the said Asian country.

Indonesia was recently included by the national government in the list of countries with travel restrictions.

It shares borders with the Philippines in Southern Mindanao and its proximity poses a huge risk of virus importation.

In view of this, PCG Commandant Admiral George Ursabia Jr. directed all Coast Guard districts and units nationwide to step up monitoring of all vessels with crew or passengers who may be carriers of the COVID-19 Delta variant, most especially borders near Indonesia and Malaysia in the Southern part of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Captain Rejard Marfe, the acting commander of PCG District Southern Mindanao, also ordered all PCG units in the region to ensure that measures are in place, in coordination with local government units and other law enforcement agencies.

DOH: 12 Filipino crew of tugboat from Indonesia tested positive for COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Twelve crew members of a sea vessel that arrived in the country from Indonesia tested positive for COVID-19, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the tugboat, which carried 20 Filipinos, is currently docked at a port in Albay.

Eleven of the patients were kept strictly aboard the boat while one is under watch in Butuan after he disembarked to go home to his family despite orders to stay in the boat.

Vergeire said the patient in Butuan snuck off the ship and road a public transport to reach his residence.

“Iyong kaniyang close contacts, kasama ang driver ng public transport at isa pong helper at lahat ng kaniyang kapamilya ay nai-quarantine na po ng local government natin,” she said.

The remaining crew members of the ship tested negative for coronavirus, she added.

Vergeire said the DOH has collected five samples from the 11 COVID-19 positive cases aboard the vessel. These samples will be sent to the Philippine Genome Center for sequencing to determine if they are infected with a coronavirus variant.

The Philippines has so far confirmed 35 Delta variant cases, with three fatalities. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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