Indonesia moves Idul Fitri leave to December

A man places his luggage in an overhead compartment on a train bound for Surabaya, East Java at Pasar Senen Station in Jakarta on May 28, 2019. - The Jakarta Post/ANN

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN): The government will push back Idul Fitri collective leave to December due to concerns that the annual exodus could cause further transmission of Covid-19.

Ramadan is expected to take place from April 23 to May 23.

It has become customary for most Indonesians, especially those living in big cities, to visit their hometowns and gather with family during the long holiday near the end of the holy month.

The country expects some 20 million people to participate in the yearly tradition, with several having already left the capital for their hometowns despite the warnings of public health experts.

While Idul Fitri will be observed, Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy has moved the four-day Idul Fitri collective leave to Dec 28-31, from May 26-29, nearing other year-end holidays.

“This policy is a follow up to a directive from the President [...] related to the no mudik appeal and the altering of the 2020 Idul Fitri collective leave, ” Muhadjir said in a statement on Thursday (April 9).

The government also added collective leave on Oct 28 to commemorate the birth of Prophet Muhammad.

“Shifting the collective leave to the end of the year was done in consideration that Covid-19 would be handled properly [by then]. In addition, at the end of the year, children will be on school break and families will have had enough time to plan vacations, ” the statement continued.

Two of Indonesia's largest Islamic mass organisations, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, have also advised people against participating in the mudik.

The government, however, has not prohibited the mudik due to economic considerations. The government will instead disburse social aid to low-income families in hopes of dissuading people from taking part in the exodus.

As of Thursday, the Health Ministry confirmed 3,293 cases of the pneumonia-like illness in Indonesia with 280 fatalities and 252 recoveries. Jakarta, the country's outbreak epicentre, has confirmed 1,706 cases, with 142 fatalities and 82 recoveries. - The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

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Indonesia , mudil , exodus , Idul , Fitri , covid-19 , leave , postponed


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