Jakarta workers start Idul Fitri exodus early despite Covid-19 fears

  • Indonesia
  • Thursday, 26 Mar 2020

File picture of vehicles passing the Karawang Barat toll road in West Java during last year's Idul Fitri exodus on June 9, 2019. - Antara

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN): Though the government has yet to decide whether to ban this year’s Idul Fitri 'mudik' (exodus), many Jakarta workers have reportedly returned to their hometowns across Java despite warnings against travelling and public gatherings.

Some consider it an opportunity to 'mudik' earlier as business has slowed down or their offices have closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak — even though Idul Fitri is not expected to fall until late May.

Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said he had obtained reports from regents and mayors saying the initial homecoming flow from Jakarta had recently entered the province.

“In Jepara, 44 buses arrived from Jakarta carrying homecomers. It is indeed happening early maybe because the offices and companies where they worked had reduced their working hours or even stopped operating, ” Ganjar said.

While the homecomers’ health has yet to be confirmed, Ganjar hoped they did not cause problems for residents, including students, who had been advised to stay at home.

Ganjar appealed to residents who were currently working in the hardest-hit Jakarta not to go home just yet.

“Meanwhile, those in Central Java, don’t go see your relatives in Jakarta, ” he said.

“If it is necessary, there should be a record of each traveller’s health at the border into Central Java.”

West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said the number of people under monitoring for Covid-19 had jumped dramatically because many residents who worked in Jakarta had chosen to return home during the crisis.

The West Sumatra administration has officially issued a circular calling on all residents living outside of the province not to return home. The circular was signed by West Sumatra Regional Development and Cooperation Bureau head Luhur Budianda on Monday.

“We have issued a letter of appeal to temporarily delay plans to return home, ” Luhur said, adding that the appeal was also addressed to all heads of Minang community organisations outside of West Sumatra.

The Transportation Ministry is currently mulling over a ban of this year’s Idul Fitri mudik and has yet to reach a final decision. The ministry’s spokesperson, Adita Irawati, said there might be some “uncommon policy”.

Both the Jakarta Transportation Agency and the Transportation Ministry’s Land Transportation Directorate General have cancelled their annual free Idul Fitri mudik programmes this year, which normally receive thousands of participants.

“It has been decided that the programme will be cancelled this year. Originally, we planned to hold this free mudik programme with state-owned enterprises and other private companies, ” said the ministry’s land transportation director general, Budi Setiyadi.

Such a measure was taken on the grounds of the extended emergency disaster status for Covid-19 declared by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, which would last 91 days starting from Feb 29 to May 29, he added. - The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

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Indonesia , mudil , exodus , Idul , Fitri , covid-19 , Jakarta , workers


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