TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Dozens of Taiwanese stuck on the Indonesian resort island of Bali due to the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will soon be flown home by China Airlines (CAL), reports said Friday (July 24).
As the situation worsened, Indonesia only allowed foreigners with resident or work permits to enter, while direct flights between Bali and many other destinations, including Taiwan, were canceled, CNA reported.
About half of the 70 to 80 Taiwanese still on the island wanted to return home, but feared that having to transit through the Indonesian capital Jakarta was too risky. On Thursday (July 23), the Southeast Asian country confirmed 1,906 new cases and 117 deaths, for a total of more than 93,000 infections and more than 4,500 deaths, according to the Jakarta Post.
The Taiwanese still on Bali included people who worked there but also tourists, with the safety of their children a major concern, according to the CNA report.
In contrast to other countries such as Taiwan and Thailand, Indonesia recently announced it would no longer allow foreigners who arrived on landing visas to extend their stay. They would have to leave the country within 30 days or pay a daily fine of up to NT$2,000 (US$68).
As a result, an association of Taiwanese business people in Indonesia asked for assistance from the Taiwanese representative office in the city of Surabaya. The intervention led to CAL offering a flight to help the Taiwanese leave Bali, and as the plane could also carry a considerable amount of freight, the ticket price for the passengers would be reasonable, at a level similar to regular flights.
No date for the flight has been arranged as of press time, but it would take place before the Taiwanese would have to start paying fines, CNA reported.