A shot in the arm for travel as vaccination programmes get underway
Over 50,000 tourism workers in Bali have been registered for Covid-19 vaccination as Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga S Uno urged local authorities to step up the programme. Tourism sector workers are are seen as high priority in the vaccination drive, especially in Bali which has been hit hard by the lack of foreign visitors.
Bali will be one of the first areas to reopen, probably introducing travel bubbles with countries that are seen as low risk. At first the reopening is likely to be restricted to zones such as Kuta, Nusa Dua, Ubud, Sanur, and Nusa Penida with more opening up as the vaccination drive gains steam.
Indonesia is also testing a Corona Breathalyser called GeNose. Initial trials show a 98% success rate which is on par with swab tests. Results take less than two minutes and cost around US$1. A hundred units have been deployed at railway stations for trials and this will be extended to airports from April 2.
Thailand has received vaccines from Sinovac and AstraZeneca and is planning to start administering them from mid-March. Travel industry groups are petitioning the government to re-open without quarantines on July 1. Whether that happens or not is anybody’s guess.
Both Malaysian Airlines and Quantas are developing digital travel passes that will be designed to help staff assess a passengers vaccination status. Both see the app as a key component in reopening to the world. More airlines will probably follow suit.
Singapore and Hong Kong both have vaccination drives underway but as yet there has been no word on starting the travel bubble between the two cities that nearly got underway at the end of last November.
Picture: Tegallalang Rice Terraces, Bali