Negative results from PCR swab tests are now the only acceptable document for air travelers visiting Bali, Governor Wayan Koster announced today, with other not-so-reliable COVID-19 test methods believed to have contributed to the infected slipping through the cracks and into the island.
“So we are tightening restrictions at Bali’s entry points, [those] traveling with air transportation must use PCR-based tests. They can no longer use GeNose,” Koster said today.
Results from GeNose tests are no longer acceptable for those traveling by land or sea either, Koster added, though rapid antigen swab tests are still accepted for travelers going by these modes of transport.
In April, Bali officials started allowing all travelers to present negative results from the locally developed GeNose COVID-19 test to enter the province. At the time, public health experts raised concerns about GeNose’s accuracy, and said it shouldn’t be used so widely.
Along with the newly announced traveling requirements, all negative swab test results must also come with a QR code to prevent fake documentation, Koster said.
“Because there have been many fake [and] paid documentation. So they have the results but they have never gone through a swab test,” he said.
The new requirements are applicable starting today, though officials are likely to implement a transition period for a few days before making it completely mandatory.
The governor said Bali has seen an increase in domestic travelers in the last few weeks, averaging between 8,000 and 9,000 people coming in via air transport, while around 10,000 people pass through Gilimanuk Port daily.
After about a month of reporting less than 100 daily cases, Bali’s daily count rose to triple digits on June 19 and has been climbing up since. Indonesia is battling its fiercest coronavirus outbreak yet, setting a new daily record just yesterday with over 21,000 cases.