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Thousands of Chinese tourists stranded in Bali after flights suspended

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Bali (Indonesia) (AFP)

Thousands of Chinese tourists risk being stranded in Bali after the Indonesian government suspended flights to and from mainland China over fears of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

With flights suspended Wednesday, at least 5,000 Chinese tourists are currently on the holiday island, according to Gou Haodong, the Chinese Consul General in Denpasar.

Some are hoping to secure visa extensions offered by Bali deputy governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati.

"Many foreign tourists want to extend their vacation in Bali and it is fine," he said.

But concerns surround delayed departures.

"We hope that Bali immigration office could facilitate Chinese tourists who have to overstay due to the policy," Haodong said.

Some hotels had given assurances the visitors would be treated well during their extended stay, Haodong said, but he noted one establishment had "rejected Chinese tourists who have earlier checked in and entered their rooms due to panic over coronavirus".

The number of Chinese tourists has already fallen from about 6,000 per day to just to 1,000 since the outbreak started in mid-December.

Indonesia has yet to report a confirmed case of the virus, which emerged in a Chinese market at the end of last year and has since killed almost 500 people in China and spread around the world.

Some 2.1 million Chinese visit Indonesia every year, the second largest group after Malaysia, according to tourist officials

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