COVID-19: Indonesians urged to delay annual tradition of 'mudik'

COVID-19: Indonesians urged to delay annual tradition of 'mudik'

Indonesian Government's spokesperson for handling COVID-19, Achmad Yurianto. (ANTARA/Yasinta Difa)

We need not leave home and travel far to be with families. Doing so would be quite risky (in terms of spreading the COVID-19 infection)
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Government has urged citizens not to return to their hometowns, or, at least, to delay their travel plans during the Idul Fitri ‘mudik’ season this year in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

‘Mudik’ refers to the annual exodus of citizens to their hometowns to celebrate Idul Fitri with their extended families and colleagues.

"We need not leave home and travel far to be with families. Doing so would be quite risky (in terms of spreading the COVID-19 infection)," Indonesian Government's spokesperson for handling COVID-19, Achmad Yurianto, said during a press briefing on Friday in Jakarta.

The risk of spreading the contagion to more areas would be much higher due to close contact between travelers, particularly those using crowded public transportation, he continued.

Therefore, Yurianto appealed to people at large to be wise regarding their plans to return to their hometowns. He made a strong appeal to people to delay their return until the condition gets better.

This year, the Idul Fitri holidays will fall on May 24-25. The Muslim festivity marks the end of the holy month of Ramadhan, when Muslims around the world go on a fast.

For millions of Indonesian Muslims, including those living in Jakarta and its outskirts, returning to their hometowns in the islands of Java and Sumatra during the "mudik" (exodus) period has become an annual tradition.

This exodus has gained the Indonesian Government's serious attention as it endeavors to contain COVID-19 infections, Achmad Yurianto said.

He pointed out that close contact has been the main cause for the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia.

"Close contact with sources of the disease caused transmission within the community," he said.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased significantly from 893 on Thursday (March 26) to 1,046 on Friday, with nine more patients succumbing to the infection, taking the total death toll to 87.

Meanwhile, the number of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 has also increased to 46.

COVID-19, which initially struck the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of December, 2019, has claimed about 24 thousand lives and infected no less than 510 thousand people in 195 nations and territories worldwide, according to media reports.

CNN reported that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US has reached at least 82 thousand, surpassing the tallies in China and Italy, while the number of fatalities in the country stands at no less than 1,195. (INE)


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