Jakarta (ANTARA) - While Indonesia has banned citizens from returning to their hometowns for Idul Fitri this year, in an online survey of 2,437 people, around 12 percent of respondents have expressed their keenness to embark on ‘mudik’.

‘Mudik' is a popular term used to describe the annual exodus of citizens to their hometowns to celebrate Idul Fitri with their extended families and colleagues.

During an online survey of 2,437 Internet users conducted by the Katadata Insight Center (KIC), 63 percent of respondents have confirmed they would not return to their hometowns for the Idul Fitri 'mudik' season this year.

Around 21 percent of respondents said they are yet to decide on ‘mudik’, while the remaining 4 percent said they have returned to their hometowns despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

More than half the respondents who have expressed their keenness to return to their hometowns for Idul Fitri come from the middle- and low-income segments, according to the survey accessed by ANTARA in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The survey reveals that those wishing to embark on 'mudik' are aged between 17 and 29 years, and belong to the middle- and low-income groups.

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The survey further shows that the flow of returnees amid the COVID-19 outbreak could be observed on March 1-5, and their number increased significantly on March 16-20, following the government's decision to enforce social distancing measures.

Most of the returnees are students (39.4 percent) and employees of privately-owned companies (23.1 percent), while those who returned to their hometowns earlier include, among others, shopkeepers, owners of small-sized enterprises, food stall owners, and workers.

On Tuesday, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) officially barred all citizens from traveling to their hometowns during the Idul Fitri holiday season to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.

The ban on ‘mudik’ would be effective from April 24, and sanctions will take effect from May 7, according to Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, who is concurrently the acting Minister of Transportation.

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.

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Translator: Aditya R, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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