Indonesia bans Ramadan exodus over virus fears


People sit and eat Iftar dinner, the evening meal with which Muslims traditionally end their daily fast during Ramadan, outside the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia, in this file picture from May 13, 2019. - Bloomberg

JAKARTA (AFP): Muslim majority Indonesia on Friday (March 26) banned an annual exodus that sees millions travel across the vast nation to mark the end of Ramadan over fears of a surge in Covid-19 infections.

Travellers pack into airports, train stations and ports across the nearly 5,000km (3,100 mile) long archipelago in a mass migration, known as Mudik, that is similar to China's Lunar New Year holiday or Christmas.

Many head to hometowns in time for celebrations at the end of Islam's holy fasting month, a festival known as Eid al-Fitr.

Ramadan ends in mid-may this year.

On Friday, the government said it was banning the exodus as Indonesia -- one of the worst-hit nations in Asia -- rolls out a massive inoculation campaign.

The country earlier announced an ambitious target to vaccinate more than 181 million of its nearly 270 million people within a year.

"There will be no Mudik in 2021," Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy said in a statement, citing fears of spreading the virus and inoculation efforts.

But he added that some may get exemptions for "urgent travel", without elaborating.

Fearing a public health disaster, the government last year slapped a ban on domestic sea and air travel and set up roadblocks to stop the cross-country movement.

But many took advantage of loopholes in the rules -- as well as relying on people smugglers and bogus travel documents -- to get around the ban.

Indonesia has officially reported nearly 1.5 million infections and more than 40,000 deaths.

But low testing rates mean the crisis is believed to be much more severe than those figures suggest.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Indonesia , Ramadan , exodus , ban

   

Next In Aseanplus News

Asean News Headlines at 10pm on Sunday (Nov 28)
Singapore's daily tally under 1,000 for first time since Sept 20 with 747 new Covid-19 cases; 11 more deaths reported on Sunday
Indonesia reports a very low 264 new Covid-19 cases and just one death on Sunday (Nov 28)
Thailand records 5,854 Covid-19 cases and 30 deaths on Sunday (Nov 28)
Philippines logs 838 new Covid-19 cases, 156 more deaths on Sunday (Nov 29); DOH prepares country against new Covid-19 variant
Vietnam reports 12,936 new Covid-19 cases and now 1,210,340 in total on Sunday (Nov 28)
Former Cambodian PM dies in France, says minister
Chinese police capture North Korean convict on the run for over 40 days
Urgent work needs to be done to understand new Covid-19 variant Omicron, says Singapore
After South Africa, Indonesia now restrict arrivals from another seven African nations amid new Covid-19 variant concerns

Others Also Read


Vouchers