03/26/2021, 15.19
INDONESIA
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Government bans Eid travel this year

by Mathias Hariyadi

For a second year, Indonesian authorities have banned the mudik, the traditional homecoming tradition associated with Islamic holidays. The exodus usually involves millions of people. No travel between 6 and 17 May. “We hope that a certain kind of herd immunity can be achieved by our vaccination programme,” says minister.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – For a second consecutive year, Indonesians will not be able to travel to their home towns for Lebaran, the Eid-al-Fitr holiday. The country's authorities today issued an official order banning the annual exodus due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.

Traditionally, the event, known as mudik in Indonesian, involves millions of people every year. In Jakarta, the population can drop from 13 to three or four million leaving streets and roads largely empty.

According to the decree, mudik will be banned from 6 to 17 May. This period is usually a hectic time for traffic management, with officials on alert for at least two weeks before and after the feast day of Eid.

At this time of the year, the prices of airline ticket skyrocket, and malls fill up with millions of people buying clothes and a wide variety of food and drinks for guests or relatives who come to visit.

This year, the atmosphere will be the same as last year. “The order came directly from President Joko Widodo, following a cabinet decision,” Minister Muhadjir Effendy said.

These rules, Effendy added, must be strictly observed by every Indonesian, whether they are public servants or private sector employees.

In adopting the decision on Tuesday, the cabinet cited the urgent need for the national vaccination programme to achieve the desired results.

“We hope that a certain kind of herd immunity can be achieved by our vaccination programme,” Effendy explained. Still, even “After May 17, people are also advised not to travel or perform outdoor activity.”

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