Expert urges government to ban "mudik" over COVID-19 transmission

Expert urges government to ban "mudik" over COVID-19 transmission

Traffic flow of travelers on Jalan Raya Nagreg, Bandung District. (ANTARA / Bagus Ahmad Rizaldi/ak).

Yogyakarta (ANTARA) - Prof. Ahmad Munawar, a transportation expert from Gadjah Mada University, has called on the government to ban the annual mass homebound exodus around the time of Idul Fitri referred to as mudik.

During mudik, Munawar analyzed that it would become an arduous and challenging task to contain the spread of COVID-19.

"Despite people using private vehicles, the infection will also be transmitted in the rest area," Munawar noted in a written statement in Yogyakarta on Monday.

The transportation expert believes that if possible, the government must strictly prohibit the annual mass homebound exodus by limiting and stopping means of public transportation between cities as well as long-distance trains and aircraft.

The expert opined that closing down arterial roads and toll roads connecting provinces can also serve as a preventative measure.

Speaking in connection with the 14-day isolation in the homeland of homebound travelers, Munawar believes it would not run smoothly as the number of homebound travelers reaches millions of people.

Munawar advised Indonesians, especially those keen on returning to their hometowns, that the health of families, especially of parents, was far more important than meeting them in person.

"At Adam Malik Hospital, Medan, there are cases of young people going home and appearing healthy though are apparently carriers of the coronavirus. Finally, it has an impact on the parents they visit," he explained.

Munawar noted that economic aspects under consideration by the government do not prohibit mudik, though it is inevitable. He stated that in the current pandemic situation, the economy would clearly suffer.

However, Munawar opined that the government should determine what to give due weightage to: the economy or the people's lives.

"While applying a lockdown in his country, President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo had given a speech in which he stated that the economy could be restored, though the people, who died, could not be revived," he pointed out. Related news: Govt compiles guidebook on passenger restriction during "mudik"
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