Bali seems to have mysterious immunity against the deadly COVID-19, as a recent report shows that only 113 confirmed cases and two deaths of foreigners were reported in the island.
The figure remained even after Chinese tourists were allowed to enter the island after the Wuhan lockdown.
The Island of God has become a popular destination amongst foreigners, especially since the government allowed free entry visa for many countries including China in 2015.
Local residents told Asia Times that about 20,000 Balinese working for international cruises have returned to the island because of the COVID-19 pandemic and they are not going through any quarantine.
“I find it puzzling too because it doesn’t make sense,” a Balinese blogger Rio Helmi told Asia Times.
“We don’t have the data, but there’s been no sign of a spike in deaths.”
The arrival of Chinese tourists to Bali was reported to continue until 5 February.
After that, the local authorities finally took action to ban anyone who had visited China in the last 14 days.
Bali itself has a total population of 4.2 million, sprawling across the area of 5,780 kilometres square.
This number includes thousands of foreign residents.
According to Asia Times’s diplomatic sources, there are up to 5,000 Australians still in Bali.
Many of them are residents who either have businesses or are living in retirement. That is quite a big number of foreigners, but there are also thousands of other nationalities in the legendary tourist island.
Surprisingly, there are no stories of hospital overflowing or significant increase in funeral ceremonies that indicate the spread of coronavirus across the Hindu-majority island.
“We’re just not hearing about a huge death toll out there,” said tour operator Jack Daniels to Asia Times.
Mr Daniels, who also publishes the weekly on-line newsletter Balidiscovery, added that both COVID-19 deaths so far have been foreigners, including a British woman who died of complications from the virus.
Despite the mystery behind the low number of COVID-19 cases on the island, the pandemic has damaged the island’s economy as it relies heavily on tourism.
It was reported that 48,173 workers are on unpaid leave and 1,107 workers have been retrenched so far.
“This number continues to increase. Therefore, we report it daily to the Ministry of Manpower,” said the Head of Bali Province Manpower and Energy Agency, Ida Bagus Ngurah Arda, to Bali Tribune on Thursday.