05/11/2021, 16.54
INDONESIA
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Indonesia bans Mudik because of too many coronavirus cases

by Mathias Hariyadi

Like last year, the traditional exodus associated with Eid celebration has been banned. Checkpoints and roadblocks have been set up across the country. More than 6,700 “mudikers” have been tested. Indonesia so far has reported 1.7 million cases, but the actual number is likely to be 10 times those admitted by the authorities. People move at night to avoid checkpoints.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Due to COVID-19, the government of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has again banned travel for Eid al Fitri celebrations, which mark the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. The ban came into force on 6 May and is set to last until 17 May.

Traditionally, millions of people leave the cities to return to their hometown to reunite with families for the Eid. The homecoming is known as Mudik.

Restrictive measures are designed to stop the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. As a result of the ban, in the capital police set up checkpoints at main access roads into the city. Usually, during Mudik, Jakarta's population drops from 13 to 6 million.

Economy Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartato yesterday said that 4,123 “mudikers” out of 6,742 tested positive for the coronavirus in Java in recent days. The random testing was carried out at 318 security posts.

Indonesia has so far reported 1.7 million cases with more than 47,000 deaths. However, according to epidemiologist Dicky Budiman, it is likely that the actual numbers are 10 times higher than those provided by the authorities.

In his view, tracing and testing are not conducted in accordance with World Health Organization protocols. What is more, government regulations have not stopped people from travelling.

Many mudikers move at night, on foot or cross waterways with their own cars to avoid checkpoints and roadblocks, this according to Nurharyati, a woman who travelled from Tangerang (Banten province) to Cilacap (Central Java), and spoke to AsiaNews.

Considering the health risks, another woman, Nanik, said that she gave up the traditional visit. “Better stay home in Bekasi instead of risking contagion by going to my birthplace in Yogyakarta.”

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