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21 Apr 2020 | 01:57 AM UTC

Indonesia: Authorities ban Ramadan mass exodus tradition Apr 21 /update 17

President Joko Widodo announces ban on mass exodus (mudik) tradition at the end of the Muslim fasting month (Ramadan) on April 21; follow all government directives



Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced on Tuesday, April 21, that the mass exodus (mudik) tradition at the end of the Muslim fasting month (Ramadan) in May will be banned to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). According to the president, multiple studies, including a Transportation Ministry survey, show that a significant number of people were planning to participate in the tradition despite current movement restrictions. Previously, the government had issued an order prohibiting civil servants, military and police personnel, and employees of state-owned businesses from participating in mudik.  

On Friday, April 10, Jakarta implemented large scale social restrictions (PSBB), with several of Jakarta's satellite municipalities and regencies and other population centers including Bekasi, Bogor, Depok, Pekanbaru, and Tangerang following suit; restrictions are in effect as of Wednesday, April 15. Restrictions include the closure of all educational institutions, except for training and research related to health services. In addition, all workplaces will be closed, and authorities have advised employees to work from home. The restrictions will not apply to workers in eight essential sectors including health, food, energy, and finance. Religious activities will have to be conducted at home only with immediate family members, instead of at places of worship. Nonessential businesses such as bars, spas, and cinemas will be closed, and public transportation will be limited. Gatherings of more than five people are also prohibited. Social and cultural events, including weddings, have been banned. Police patrols will also be increased to ensure compliance with the restrictions. On Tuesday, April 14, President Joko Widodo declared the COVID-19 pandemic a non-natural national disaster. The decree gives increased powers to the national COVID-19 Task Force, and requires provinces, regencies, and municipalities to follow the central government's policies in responding to the pandemic.

Wearing face masks in public is mandatory. The government has requested the public to reserve surgical and N95 masks for medical personnel, and to use washable fabric masks instead. Public buses, trains, aircraft, ships, and private cars are only permitted to fill half of their passenger seats, while motorcycles can only be ridden by one person.

Other previously announced measures remain in place, including the prohibition of all entry and transit by foreign nationals into or through Indonesia. However, foreigners with a limited stay permit card (Kitas), permanent stay permit card (Kitap), or other similar permits, will still be allowed to enter the country. On Friday, March 20, the Indonesian government suspended all visa-free and visa-on-arrival arrangements for one month.

As of Monday, April 21, the Health Ministry has confirmed 6760 cases of COVID-19, including 590 fatalities. Further international spread of the virus to be expected over the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.