Indonesia may start new holiday to replace Eid exodus amid COVID-19 concerns


  • World
  • Thursday, 02 Apr 2020

FILE PHOTO: Visitors wearing face masks walk outside a shopping mall after Indonesia's capital begins a two-week emergency period to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Thursday the government is considering starting a new national holiday to prevent the annual mass exodus usually occurring at the end of the Muslim fasting month amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19. Widodo said at a cabinet meeting that measures could be put in place during the new holiday such as making tourist attractions free to help "bring some calm to the people".

Indonesians, nearly 90% of whom are Muslim, celebrate the end of Ramadan or the Eid al-Fitr festival with a feast and new clothes, usually returning to their home villages or towns.

Ramadan this year falls over April and May.

(Reporting by Maikel Jefriando; Writing by Stanley Widianto; Editing by Ed Davies and Tom Hogue)

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