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Eerie images from Bali show Covid’s devastating impact as heartbroken Aussies yearn for trip


The once vibrant, bustling streets of Bali now lie empty and abandoned as Covid lockdowns ruin the former holiday hotspot – it’s enough to drive you to Bintang.

Kuta, the legendary party capital of beer-swilling Australians on cheap holidays, is a ghost town. Its bars and clubs are shuttered and silent. Billboards optimistically offer premises for rent.

But there’s no-one there to see those signs.

The once vibrant, bustling streets of Bali now lie empty and abandoned as Covid lockdowns decimate the former holiday hotspot. Seen here is an abandoned spa, optimistically advertised for rent, but there is no-one there to read the signs

The once vibrant, bustling streets of Bali now lie empty and abandoned as Covid lockdowns decimate the former holiday hotspot. Seen here is an abandoned spa, optimistically advertised for rent, but there is no-one there to read the signs

The once vibrant, bustling streets of Bali now lie empty and abandoned as Covid lockdowns decimate the former holiday hotspot. Laneways like the one pictured here are normally packed with fun-seeking holidaymakers but are now deserted

The once vibrant, bustling streets of Bali now lie empty and abandoned as Covid lockdowns decimate the former holiday hotspot. Laneways like the one pictured here are normally packed with fun-seeking holidaymakers but are now deserted

Indonesia is gripped by the world’s worst current Covid outbreak with more than 50,000 cases a day being reported – and many more feared going undetected.

More than 75,000 Indonesians have died from the disease since the pandemic began, and the latest outbreak has another 1,000 dying every day.

Locals barter in the streets for lifesaving oxygen cylinders for their families as overcrowded hospitals struggle to cope with the surging flood of patients.

Just seven per cent of the targeted 180 million of Indonesia’s 276 million population have had any kind of vaccination, mostly with China’s Sinovac vaccine that had its effectiveness questioned by some experts. 

The country – which has now had more than 2.6 million Covid cases – went into partial lockdown at the start of July in a bid to slow the disease, but to little effect so far.

Kuta, the legendary party capital of beer-swilling Australians, is a ghost town. Its bars and clubs, like the one pictured here, are shuttered and silent while falling into disrepair

Kuta, the legendary party capital of beer-swilling Australians, is a ghost town. Its bars and clubs, like the one pictured here, are shuttered and silent while falling into disrepair

Indonesia's lockdowns have targeted the main tourist destinations of Bali and Java to stem the tide of the Delta variant of the disease which has wreaked havoc worldwide, but it's meant the total shutdown of Australia's favourite holiday hotspot

Indonesia’s lockdowns have targeted the main tourist destinations of Bali and Java to stem the tide of the Delta variant of the disease which has wreaked havoc worldwide, but it’s meant the total shutdown of Australia’s favourite holiday hotspot

Normally these vibrant streets pictured here would be 24x7 party central with noisy crowds of people enjoying their holiday. Today nothing moves and there is no-one to be seen

Normally these vibrant streets pictured here would be 24×7 party central with noisy crowds of people enjoying their holiday. Today nothing moves and there is no-one to be seen

The lockdowns were targeted at the main tourist destination of Bali and the densely populated main island of Java to stem the tide of the Delta variant of the disease, which has wreaked havoc worldwide.

But the measures meant the total shutdown of Australia’s favourite holiday hotspot, famous for attracting sport clubs, bucks parties and hens nights on wild Bintang beer-fuelled adventures.

Combined with Australia’s total overseas travel ban, apart from vital or exceptional circumstances, it sounded a death knell for the Bali tourist trade and its notorious nightlife.

Combined with Australia's total overseas travel ban, the localised Indonesian lockdowns have sounded a death knell for the Bali tourist trade and its notorious nightlife, as seen in the darkness of the city streets here

Combined with Australia’s total overseas travel ban, the localised Indonesian lockdowns have sounded a death knell for the Bali tourist trade and its notorious nightlife, as seen in the darkness of the city streets here

These haunting photographs of the deserted resort streets, pictured here, have sparked pangs of longing and regret for Bali-fans stuck in Australia who took to social media to express their support for struggling locals.

These haunting photographs of the deserted resort streets, pictured here, have sparked pangs of longing and regret for Bali-fans stuck in Australia who took to social media to express their support for struggling locals.

A sport bar in Kuta (pictured) appeals directly to Australian tourists with the promise of live AFL, NRL, Melbourne Cup coverage - but there's not a single visitor around to watch, forcing the shutters to come down at this venue

A sport bar in Kuta (pictured) appeals directly to Australian tourists with the promise of live AFL, NRL, Melbourne Cup coverage – but there’s not a single visitor around to watch, forcing the shutters to come down at this venue

Now these haunting photographs of the deserted resort have sparked pangs of longing and regret for Bali fans stuck in Australia who expressed their support for struggling locals on social media.

The pictures were posted on an Australian Facebook group for Bali holiday fans and ex-pats by Samantha Buckley-Wright, who said they were all taken in the past few days.

And they show the full devastating impact the disease had on Kuta.

Australian regulars to Bali fear the island may never recover from the terrible effects Covid has had on the tourism industry

Australian regulars to Bali fear the island may never recover from the terrible effects Covid has had on the tourism industry

Seen here is another abandoned bar with tables, chairs and shades still awaiting customers who can no longer come

Seen here is another abandoned bar with tables, chairs and shades still awaiting customers who can no longer come

Kuta has a special spiritual connection with Australia following the 2002 terrorist bombings which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, in Paddy's Bar and the Sari Club. Seen here is the memorial to those who died at the site

Kuta has a special spiritual connection with Australia following the 2002 terrorist bombings which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, in Paddy’s Bar and the Sari Club. Seen here is the memorial to those who died at the site 

The destination had a special spiritual connection with Australia following the 2002 terrorist bombings which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, in Paddy’s Bar and the Sari Club.

But the photos of the now-uninhabited pubs, clubs, bars, laneways, and streets caused new pain for regulars stuck at home in Australia.

‘This is heartbreaking. How will they ever recover from this?’ Angela Bonsera added: ‘So sad – Bali gave so many of us so much happiness and now to think of all the struggling locals,’ Jackie Debnam wrote.

Previously Kuta was a 24 hour party destination beloved by generations of Australians who flocked there for holidays

Previously Kuta was a 24 hour party destination beloved by generations of Australians who flocked there for holidays

Ex-pat Spencer Spires currently lives in Indonesia and is worried for the long-term recovery of the area to return to scenes like those pictured here

Ex-pat Spencer Spires currently lives in Indonesia and is worried for the long-term recovery of the area to return to scenes like those pictured here

Other Australian want to find a way to help in the future when opportunities for travel return to enjoy moments like those pictured here again

Other Australian want to find a way to help in the future when opportunities for travel return to enjoy moments like those pictured here again

Australian ex-pat Spencer Spires said he was living in Indonesia and worried for the long-term recovery of the area.

‘I drive past many of these every day and night. Won’t change for many years now. A sad sight to see, that’s for sure,’ he posted.

Brenda Pietrosante added: ‘I can’t even look at these photos. Thinking of all who have lost their livelihood. This is criminal.’

Lee Davis wrote: ‘One wonders if it will ever recover.’

Others wanted to find a way to help in the future when opportunities for travel return.

‘This isn’t our Bali,’ said Justina Bennington. ‘I just want to go back to my other home and help repair and rebuild the best times – and give our Bali families their lives back. What can we do to bring our Bali back to life?’

The bustling streets of Kuta, pictured here, were popular with families as well as hard-partying single Australians

The bustling streets of Kuta, pictured here, were popular with families as well as hard-partying single Australians

As well as the tropical weather and surfing, shopping was a main attraction for visitors to the Indonesian island

As well as the tropical weather and surfing, shopping was a main attraction for visitors to the Indonesian island

Angela Bonsera said Bali gave so many Australians so much happiness but she was now worried for all the struggling locals, like those pictured here

Angela Bonsera said Bali gave so many Australians so much happiness but she was now worried for all the struggling locals, like those pictured here



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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