Bali officials are planning to launch a dedicated task force for traditional markets across the province, following spikes in local transmissions being traced back to dozens of market vendors in recent weeks.

“We hope that this task force or monitoring post will be able to conduct daily monitoring to prevent new clusters on traditional markets,” Dewa Made Indra, regional secretary to the Bali administration, said during a virtual meeting yesterday. 

Traditional markets have been a source of concern here in Bali, after dozens of confirmed COVID-19 cases showcased new infection clusters across different markets, such as Pasar Galiran in Klungkung regency, Pasar Kidul in Bangli regency, and Pasar Kumbasari in Denpasar city. 

The task force, which Indra said could collaborate with the police or military, is expected to raise awareness on proper mask-wearing and other crucial health protocols, such as proper and regular handwashing. It appears that putting up posters and distributing pamphlets on these matters are perceived to be ineffective, as both visitors and sellers may not necessarily follow through. 

“What’s concerning is that market sellers and visitors are dominated by groups of women belonging to the vulnerable age group,” Indra said, alluding to the slowing COVID-19 recovery rate in Bali due to more elderlies contracting the coronavirus. 

Indra further encourages market coordinators to instill a sense of shame among themselves should their markets become a COVID-19 cluster. 

“We must remember our moral responsibilities. There must be guilt if our negligence leads to more victims. So let us try our best. If we tried our best but cases still arise, that’s a different matter,” Indra said, adding that markets should try to encourage online trade or payments. 

Bali recorded 49 additional COVID-19 cases yesterday, bringing the provincial total to 1,493. This includes 681 recoveries and 14 deaths. Most cases have been recorded in Denpasar city, where 325 patients are currently undergoing treatment.

Read more news and updates from Bali here.

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the island of Bali

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