DENPASAR, Indonesia — A tourist from the U.S. was among four travelers ordered to leave Indonesia’s resort island of Bali Monday after violating health protocols as the country endures a devastating wave of COVID-19 illnesses and deaths.
The U.S. tourist and two others from Ireland and Russia were accused of defying mask mandates in public after being found unmasked last Thursday in a raid to enforce health protocols and prevent more infections in the Kuta tourist area, according to Jamaruli Manihuruk, who heads the Bali regional office for the Justice and Human Rights Ministry.
The three travelers were placed in a detention room at the immigration office while waiting for their flights to their countries Monday.
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Manihuruk said a fourth tourist, a Russian who tested positive for the coronavirus upon her arrival in Bali last Thursday, was recaptured that night after escaping mandatory isolation at an appointed hotel.
She has been placed in an isolation facility in Bali’s capital, Denpasar, and will be deported as soon as she recovered from the virus, Manihuruk said.
Indonesia has been hit hard by the virus, fueled by travel during the Eid holiday in May, and the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus first found in India. Overall, the Southeast Asia country has reported more than 2.5 million infections and nearly 67,000 fatalities from COVID-19.
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The most recent surge prompted new lockdown measures last month, particularly on Java, Indonesia’s most populated island, and on the tourist island of Bali.
Bali has recorded more than 55,300 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, including 1,634 deaths.
Under the new emergency measures, authorities in Bali toughened its mask mandate to impose a fine of 1 million rupiah ($70) for foreigners who did not use masks properly and to deport those who did not wear masks. Previously, foreigners were given guidance to use masks properly, were fined for a first offense and were deported after a second offense.
Contributing: Eve Chen, USA TODAY