Life, News, Photography and Reviews from Ubud: The Apple of Bali's Eye

Coronavirus and Covid-19 Updates for Bali, Indonesia

Coronavirus update for Bali, Indonesia

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Indonesia / Bali

Dateline: July 4, 2020

From just under a month ago, official Coronavirus cases on Bali have risen from 608 on June 10 to 1,797 today – or a surge of 195 percent in 24 days.

The number of deaths from Covid-19 on Bali during the same period has risen from 5 to 18, or a 260 percent increase.

Bear in mind that these are government figures, and may not count unreported cases, or Covid-19 deaths that have possibly been confused with an abnormally high number of dengue fever fatalities across the island.

Going full-Covid in the name of heart-centred love and light

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Bali / Ubud / New Age Tourism

Dateline: June 25, 2020

Self-styled Syrian Guru-stroke-Hypnotherapist comes to Bali to set up a Conscious Community & Holistic School Resort – The House of Om – and bills it as 'a labor of love that brings together like-minded, heart-centered individuals who share the same vision of creating a new way of living in harmony with others'.

With you so far.

Mid-pandemic, said guru promotes an Ecstatic Kirtan event at his 'beautiful Sky Shala' for a 'bhakti celebration of community' – and encourages his acolytes to 'invite as many friends and family as you want! Our intention is to gather more than 100 Bhakti & Kirtan lovers in order to co-create an amazing celebration together!'

Sixty-plus camp followers turn up – maskless, and mostly in their twenties and thirties – and pack the Sky Shala like canned herring as they chant and sing and om and spit onto each other's backs.

Attendees at The House of Om during an Ecstatic Kirtan and Bhakti session near Gianyar city in Bali, Indonesia on June 18, 2020

Attendees at The House of Om during an 'Ecstatic Kirtan and Bhakti' session near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia on June 18, 2020.
© Facebook.

Social media is a double-edged dagger with a karmic twist. Post-event pictures posted to Facebook and Instagram quickly make their way onto the Twitter desk of Bali's Immigration Department.

Attendees at The House of Om during an Ecstatic Kirtan and Bhakti session near Gianyar city in Bali, Indonesia on June 18, 2020

Attendees at The House of Om sing and chant during an 'Ecstatic Kirtan and Bhakti' session near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia on June 18, 2020.
© Facebook.

Wissam Barakeh, founder of Om and super-spreader of Light and Love, is arrested by immigration officials for violating Covid-19 health protocols; Barakeh doubles-down on his sword, lies about the photographs taken at the event, accuses 'envy people' with 'low vibrations' of trying to shut his business down – and is promptly carted off.

Barakeh is currently being held behind bars at Immigration's leisure as his deportation is 'postponed until a flight to Syria becomes available'.


That may be some time, considering most air-bridges out of Bali are shut.

Plenty of time to learn how to live in harmony with his fellow inmates, not think about tantric sex for a while, shed the ego, and hone his communal bathroom skills.

Wissam Barakeh during a press conference at the Department of Immigration in Bali, Indonesia on June 25, 2020.

Wissam Barakeh at a press conference at the Department of Immigration in Bali, Indonesia on June 25, 2020.

Hot tip while you're in hot water with officials on Bali: don't turn your back on the proceedings, because your paperwork might just take fright and disappear for another month.
© Department of Immigration, Bali.

Wissam Barakeh in jail at the Department of Immigration in Bali, Indonesia on June 25, 2020.

Wissam Barakeh, of The House of Om, in jail at the Department of Immigration in Bali, Indonesia on June 25, 2020.
© Department of Immigration, Bali.

Breathwork, Ubud-style ~ Kill your neighbour, kill me

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Indonesia / Ubud / Tourism

Dateline: June 22, 2020

Just for fun, I sit outside a busy Circle K on Ubud's main street for an hour, and I count how many people are wearing masks. After all, we're at the kick-start of an airborne pandemic on Bali that's only getting worse, and I'm wondering how Ubud's New Abnormal is cracking along.

Numbers can be boring.

775 people pass on 'bikes and on foot. Out of these, 611 are local – and 568 are wearing masks. That's 93 percent who are toeing the line on their own island.

Out of the white contingent, 94 out of 164 are not wearing masks. Which translates as 57 percent of white people in Ubud, in a random hour, who couldn't give a cuss whose island they're borrowing – or who they interact with while they shop, or whose parents or grandparents they kill on their once-in-a-lifetime Corona lockdown holiday.

Out with the old and brown, and in with the new – more often than not young, Russian – wave of white sea-foam.

As the Coronavirus catches light across Indonesia, wearing a mask in public isn't optional, or a personal lifestyle choice or a political branding in this country – it's law.

It's official: you're not special because of your skin colour, and your breath is potentially weaponised.

Brown lives matter, too.

Indonesia records most Coronavirus cases and deaths in South-East Asia

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Indonesia

Dateline: June 18, 2020

Indonesia is now the nation worst hit by Covid-19 in South-East Asia, surpassing Singapore's 41,216 cases to take the number one slot with 41,431 cases and 2,276 dead.

While the two countries appear to be neck-and-neck in the region's race, there's a glaring discrepancy.

Singapore has been aggressive and transparent in its testing, contact-tracing, preventative measures and hospitalisation from the get-go – with just 26 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak.

Which means that Indonesia's official mortality rate – at 2,276 and rising – is roughly 8,600 percent higher than its city-state neighbour, despite a similar number of cases.

Something isn't right here, at all.

Indonesia has tested 1.2 per 1,000 people out of a population of 267 million – one of the lowest testing rates in the world – and the country currently ranks 30th in the number of Coronavirus cases worldwide.

Indonesia has also just been scored as 'moderately unsafe' in the latest Covid-19 Regional Safety Assessment report, hitting near the bottom in terms of government efficiency, quarantine efficiency and emergency preparedness.

In the same study, Indonesia ranks 18 out of 36 countries in the Asia-Pacific region – lower than Bangladesh, Myanmar, India and Mongolia.

[Source: Jakarta Globe | Jakarta Post | | Jakarta Globe]

Indonesia's 'New Normal' ~ First milestone of 1000 daily Coronavirus cases hit

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Indonesia / Bali

Dateline: June 10, 2020

According to government figures, Indonesia hit a personal daily best in the Covid-19 stakes today with a record 1,043 new cases registered across the archipelago, and 40 deaths.

Outside of the capital Jakarta, emerging new hotspots include South Sulawesi, South Kalimantan, South Sumatra – and East Java, where infections have risen by a staggering 334 percent since May 10.

The official current national tally stands at 33,076 cases with 1,923 dead.

To put these numbers into perspective, let's do a little digging.

In March 2020, there were 4,400 burials in Jakarta compared with 3,100 during the same period in 2019 – a rise of 1,300 unexplained deaths in the megacity, and a jump of nearly 42 percent above the monthly average.

Back on Bali, 5 people have now officially died from Covid-19 – up just 4 since the resort-island with a population of 4,2 million recorded its first death three months ago on March 11. Total number of infections: 608.

Indonesia has one of the lowest Coronavirus testing rates in the world.

Do your own maths. Nothing is what it seems on the Island of Dreams.

[Source: Jakarta Globe | Jakarta Post]

The Ubud Handbook

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Cinema Paradiso

Ubud 'Art Attack

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Dinosaur Talk

Getting Around

It's Silly Season Again

The Other Side of the Coin

Surviving Bali on a 'Bike

A Walk in the Park

Personal Stories

Diary of a Market Girl

A Trip to Deer Island

Tourism & Self-Enrichment

Eat, Pray, Self-Love

The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil

The Eternal Wash Cycle

Odd Man Out

A Dutchman Goes to a Gypsy Fortune-Teller

From Ubud With Love

Hints & Tips

Let's Get Wet: The Rainy Season on Bali

A Lot of Hot Air

No Butt-Cheeks Please, We're Balinese

It Wasn't Me, Guv... Crime and Punishment on Bali

In Sickness and in Death

Soul Feet

Photographing Bali

The King of Stink

Dengue Fever Roolz

Things that Bite and Sting: The Insect Kingdom vs. You

Snakes Alive!

Once Bitten Twice Shy: Dogs on Bali

Monkey Talk

Holidays from the Jungle

The Heads of Trunyan

A Beggar's Banquet

The White Herons of Petulu

A Line in the Sand