Jakarta, Apr 21 (AP) Indonesia President Joko Widodo has banned people in the world”s most populous Muslim nation from travelling back home to celebrate the Islamic holiday during the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement came amid warnings from health experts of a chance Indonesia will face an outbreak of coronavirus cases that could infect more than a million people following Ramzan, unless the government takes stricter measures in a country home to about 230 million Muslims.
Widodo initially just banned nearly 6 million of the country”s civil servants, soldiers, police officers and state-owned employees from going on the annual exodus known as “mudik” to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the dawn-to-sunset fasting during Ramzan.
In the annual mass exodus, millions of Indonesians usually cram into trains, ferries, cars and planes, resulting in massive traffic jams and fully booked flights.
Last year, about 33 million Indonesians left big cities to visit relatives during the holiday.
Widodo said government surveys that showed a risky 24% of people insisted on returning home for the holiday caused him to issue the ban. He asked his administration to prepare measures in enforcing the restriction.
As of Monday, the nation had reported at least 6,760 infections — including 590 deaths from COVID-19, more fatalities than any Asian country other than China. (AP) AMS AMS