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Let us ensure a safe homecoming

Let us ensure a safe homecoming

The Healthy Homecoming with State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) 2022 program. (ANTARA/HO-BTN)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Mudik is Indonesian for homecoming, and this ardent experience is reflected in Singer Michael Buble's song "I Wanna Go Home" that echoes his longing to go home despite having spent summer in Paris and Rome.

In his song, Buble croons about feeling lonely in the two cities, with a rich history, despite being in the presence of many people, and that is the reason why he craved to go home.

Meanwhile, Maywood (duo), Alice May and Careen Wood, through their song "Mother How Are You Today," voiced a longing to see their mother when they were overseas and had not seen her for a long time.

In the song, Maywood promised to go home soon in the summer and made sure there would be no delay this time, as they were eager to see their mother.

They wanted to tell their mother about the several things that had transpired since they left their house.

Perhaps, the lyrics of the two songs reflect the feelings of millions of people in major cities in Indonesia that follow the tradition of homecoming during the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

The tradition of homecoming in this country always shows how travelers are willing to reach their hometown by making all possible efforts.

The difficulty of getting buses, trains, or plane tickets, or getting stuck for long hours and even days on the highway is the art of homecoming, according to a source, who often follows the homecoming "rituals".

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Hence, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the government to issue a homecoming ban, Eid no longer felt the same. This is despite the fact that the pandemic did change every ordinary condition and led to the inculcation of new habits.

Hence, when the homecoming was reopened after being closed since the last two years for Eid, it was welcomed by those keen to celebrate in their hometowns.

The government has forecast that around 85.5 million people will leave major cities for various regions in the country to gather with their families.

That huge figure was a consideration for the government while planning various forms of support, so that the 2022 exodus flow would run smoothly.

The physical preparations, such as infrastructure, that were intensified and widely publicized comprised the preparations of the highway or toll roads, which among others, would bear the most traffic load when the exodus flow occurs.

Some 10 days before Eid, Minister of Public Works and Public Housing Basuki Hadimuljono stated that the national road infrastructure, toll roads, and ordinary roads, as well as bridges, are ready for the exodus of travelers.

Meanwhile, the minister noted that Java and Sumatra, where the road infrastructure is the center of the homecoming traffic flow, were also ready for travelers. The highway path in Java is divided into three main roads: the north coast path, the inner/middle path, and the south coast path.

The homecoming traffic flow is also supported by the 100-percent readiness of toll roads in Java and Sumatra.

Problems that usually occur on the main roads draw national attention on account of the high number of people involved in the homecoming.

To that end, physical preparations for infrastructure alone are not sufficient. The police have quickly formulated and imposed policies to control and maintain the traffic during the busy period of the homecoming flow.

The police have designed several traffic schemes that will be applied during the peak of the homecoming flow. Before the pandemic, the peak of the homecoming flow usually occurred two days before the holiday. Major traffic jams are projected to occur at that time.

To prevent such traffic congestion, the government has repeatedly appealed to the public to go home earlier.

However, no matter how orderly and planned the traffic strategies were prepared, it would still be quite troublesome if all the exodus travelers leave major cities simultaneously on the same day, or one or two days before Eid.

Based on the Transportation Ministry's survey, there will be 23 million cars and 17 million motorcycles in the homecoming flow, thereby causing problems on the highways if the movement of travelers is simultaneous. Thus, the homecoming process would be more comfortable if travelers went home earlier.

The government predicted the peak of homecoming flow density to occur on April 28-30, 2022, and it would be helpful if several go home before April 28.

In addition to the classic problem of traffic jams, there is another problem that requires the active role of the community, so that this year's Eid can be more comfortable, for which the public should comply with health protocols.

One reason behind the government allowing homecoming activities in 2022 was the declining cases of COVID-19 after the virus transmission that had caused devastating outcomes during the 2020-2021 period.

Travelers are expected to continue to wear masks, obtain vaccines if they haven't, and undergo antigen and PCR tests if necessary. These three steps were the familiar protocols to be followed when the country was hit by a global pandemic.

To participate in the exodus, the government requires people to get a booster vaccine for all travelers. However, although many people were enthusiastic about getting the booster shot, it was difficult to meet the goal of 100-percent vaccinated travelers.

Therefore, apart from the booster, the requirements for taking the antigen test for those who have only obtained the jab twice and a PCR test for those who have only received a single dose should be met.

Wearing masks should not be ignored during a gathering with a large family. A safe procedure for eating together must be maintained with discipline during the pandemic.

The element of prudence and caring for each other is a necessity.

It is hoped that travelers would not spread the virus to their hometowns or bring the virus back to the cities where they work and live. All must realize that the pandemic is not over.

While waiting for the pandemic to pass, travelers can reflect on the extent to which the COVID-19 virus has been impacting several people. The threat is still out there.

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