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Bali deports Syrian yogi for holding crowded gathering

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INDONESIA: A Syrian yogi will be kicked out of Bali for holding a crowded gathering that violated the Indonesian holiday island's coronavirus restrictions, a justice official said on Wednesday.

House of Om, a holistic retreat in Bali's cultural hub of Ubud, found itself in hot water after a video went viral showing at least 60 foreign yoga enthusiasts crammed together at a gathering last week.

Few of the cross-legged participants wore masks or kept a distance from one another, sparking anger in Bali where infections have been on the rise.

On Wednesday, the island's immigration office said it would deport retreat co-founder Wissam Barakeh, 45, to his native Syria for breaking rules that prohibit gatherings of more than two dozen people.

"(He) didn't try to cancel the event even after the number of participants exceeded what is allowed by the government," said Mr Jamaruli Manihuruk, the head of Bali's justice and legal office.

"Holding this during the pandemic is dangerous."

As of Tuesday, Bali had reported 1,158 cases, with nine deaths.

Indonesia reported 1,178 new infections yesterday, taking its total to 50,187.

There were 47 more deaths, with total fatalities now at 2,620.

In the rest of South-east Asia, Malaysia recorded four new cases yesterday continuing its trend of single digits for the third day running.

The number of infections in the country is now 8,600 cases.

All four new cases are Malaysians, with three of the four being imported cases detected in Malaysians returning from abroad. The death toll remains at 121.

Thailand yesterday reported one new case detected in a Thai national returning from abroad, taking the country to 31 days without a local transmission.

The new case was undergoing mandatory quarantine after returning from Egypt, said Ms Panprapa Yongtrakul, a spokesman for the government's Covid-19 Administration Centre.

The virus has killed 58 people in Thailand since it was first detected in January, among 3,158 infections.

Thailand will reopen schools and plans to allow some foreigners into the country from next week. - AFP, REUTERS, THE STAR