Coronavirus in Bali, Indonesia
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Mar 19, 2020
We Asked: What is currently happening with regard to the Coronavirus outbreak in your area? Please provide as much detail as possible.
Information is written in Bahasa, so not in English. Generally, there is information for people about containing the virus, with school closings. It’s not clear how seriously people take this advise. Bali, where I am, is definitely not in lock down. Seemed like people were very slow to start tracking this and now seemed dazed that suddenly there are changes in their jobs with a dramatic slow down in tourists. There is no large scale testing, and everything here is kind of vague. Fortunately, one can get things delivered easily, with a $35 minimum purchase at a grocery store. I can order organic veggies online for delivery, and there’s plenty of delivery options for food of all kinds here. Bali is getting quiet now with the outflux of tourists, especially Chinese who are the largest population of tourists here normally. So for being an expat right now, it is quite pleasant with the drop in traffic. I can find a rental now much more inexpensively, too.
How People are Coping
We Asked: How are people handling the situation in your area?
Balinese are reluctant to accept this since their economy is tourist based. Economic concerns seem to supercede other health issues. The Balinese up until recently thought the country was immune to the virus because of their ceremonies and prayers. In fact the government had initially advised prayer as the primary antidote. They said they believed that the animals would take the virus instead of humans, which is odd logic considering the virus comes from animals. Or bats? Anyway, I’m not sure the Balinese have the same approach to issues people in the US do where there is a lot of attention to media, and a free discussion of issues. Indonesia was ruled by a dictator for a long time and authoritarianism is slow to surrender to the Worlds’ 3rd largest democracy, which seems like a very young democracy. Nevertheless, there are apparently more vocal outbursts from some sectors demanding more access to testing, but not so much in Bali. Generally the government was slow to act, slow to release data, etc. Part of that is Public Healthcare policy is not super proactive. I'm sure they are rising to the occasion as the rest of the world’s responses are seen to unfold.
Changing Conditions as coronavirus Spreads
We Asked: How has the situation changed as the Coronavirus has spread?
The issue is that the spread of the virus here is not tracked well. Who knows how many people actually have this virus when testing is inadequate as well as public information being slow to emerge. People probably think they just have a flu, or sickness. Something seasonal. They are not alerted to this disease.
So, I am not sure what the actual figure is and definitely don’t think people know what it is here in Bali. This sort of less than realistic atmosphere is prevalent. They are very slow to get that this is a big issue. They thought that being in a tropical country was the antidote and it wasn’t going to be a problem here.
We Asked: Describe how the government of the country about which you are reporting is handling this situation.
I’m not sure. I only read new reports.
Government Response with Regard to Expats
We Asked: Describe how your home country's government has handled the outbreak situation with regards to its expatriate citizens.
I get emails from the US consulate with phone numbers and hotlines to call. I contacted the consulate to find out where I could go to get tested if I needed to.
Supplies and Shortages
We Asked: Is there a shortage of supplies in your location?
Supplies of hand sanitizer are going down. There’s plenty of produce, and most everything.
Preparing for the Future
We Asked: What are you doing in terms of preparations in case the situation deteriorates in your location?
I am already hunkering down. I am currently planning to stay as I’m safer here than on a plane home. It’s not great. I’ve been ordering supplements I can take if I needed to. I think there will be food available. I know an organic farmer I can contact for veggies, and can order things online.
Lockdown & Passing the Time
We Asked: Are you staying home? If so, how are you passing the time?
I'm staying home. I'm building my network of numbers to call for grocery deliveries, and have a driver who can run errands for me. I’ve been busy renewing my retirement visa for another year, taking care of some business, and ordering supplements. I've been researching how to apply for D7 visa to Portugal from Bali. After that, I do yoga from some posts on Instagram by teachers I follow, i take walks around here, talk to my daughters, listen to a ton of podcasts on ITunes and YouTube from US about politics, the primary, the Covid drama in the US, and some more spiritually oriented podcasts about manifesting and astrology.. I wash my clothes, cook my food, clean my quarters as I asked the staff not to come into my room to clean anymore. I’ve been getting well from a bout with parasites and candida that lasted two years, and am now much better, but exploring a new bean protocol to continue to heal my intestines. So that involves tracking some updates about it on Instagram.
Public Healthcare & Public Hospitals
We Asked: Are you enrolled in the public healthcare system where you live? Do you feel that the public hospitals are handling or preparing for the Coronavirus outbreak effectively?
I am not enrolled. The government is trying to expand the locations for getting the texts sent for results. I am concerned that they don't have enough tests, not enough ventilators, etc. I certainly as an older person don’t want to be the one deprioritized in such a situation where I needed one, if it came to that. So. I’m hoping that should I contract the virus that I could manage it myself.
Private Health Insurance & Private Hospitals
We Asked: Do you have private health insurance? If you have private insurance, does this give you access to private hospitals? Are private hospitals or clinics better prepared, less prepared, or the same? Please explain.
I have travel insurance.
Hospital of Choice for Coronavirus Treatment
We Asked: Would you choose a public or private hospital if you needed treatment for Coronavirus? Why? If there is a specific hospital that you would go to in the event of severe illness? Which hospital and why?
I am not sure on hospitals. I have gone to a public hospital near Ubud a couple of times. Good question.
We Asked: Are you considering returning to your home country due to the Coronavirus? Would this be a temporary move or a permanent repatriation? Please explain.
I am not considering returning to live in the US at this time due to the cost. My youngest daughter wants me to come back. I will travel there if possible in late Summer. It would definitely be nice to be on one’s own ground in a situation like this. I have Medicare, too. But I am sticking things out here for now. I don't want to board a plane. That scares me more than staying here. I need to continue to work on getting healthy before venturing out. So I’m just isolating here and hoping for the best.
Living as an expat. From United States. Single woman. Have two daughters. Do yoga. Healthy lifestyle.