DENPASAR, Bali, 2 March 2021: Bali has registered over 50,000 tourism workers for the island’s Covid-19 vaccination programme following a message from the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga S Uno that urged local authorities to step up the vaccination registration.
The minister identified tourism workers as one of the priority groups for the Covid-19 jab prompting the Bali Tourism Office to embark on a special drive to register all tourism workers.
The Bali Hotels Association said it fully supports the need to get as many people in the tourism industry vaccinated.
Once tourism workers are inoculated, and comprehensive screening is widely available on the island, it is likely authorities will reopen the island for tourists using travel bubbles or corridors based on bilateral agreements with low-risk countries.
Indonesia’s vaccination programme is moving ahead with 329 million doses secured from various vaccine suppliers, including AstraZeneca, SinoPharm, Sputnik V and Novavax that will provide protection for around 31% of the population.
Meanwhile, Indonesia is trialling a Corona Breathalyzer screening process named ‘GeNose’ that tests exhaled breath which is a non-invasive procedure when compared with the PCR swab test. Initial trials showed it had a 98% success rate on par with PCR swab and Antigen tests. It confirms a result in less than two minutes at around US1 per test. Indonesia deployed 100 units for initial trials at railways stations that will now be extended to airport terminals for departing passengers starting 2 April.
Developed in 2008 to detect tuberculosis, medical researchers and scientists adapted the device to detect Covid-19 from exhaled breath. Several countries such as Australia, Israel, the US, Finland and the UK have also developed similar devices that are undergoing trials and are likely to be authorised for widespread testing soon.
Meanwhile, Thailand has played catch up on its vaccination programme that officially got underway on Sunday after weeks of delays and mixed messages from public health officials.
The first vaccine jabs, developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech, were given to Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who is also the health minister, among others at an infectious diseases institute on the outskirts of Bangkok.
Thailand received its first 200,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine from China and 117,00 imported doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine this week, Reuters reported on Monday.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine will be ready for use by the second week of March, and a mass campaign to administer 10 million doses a month is set to begin in June, with 61 million shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by local firm Siam Bioscience.