If there’s any stat that justifies the government’s Eid homecoming mudik ban this year, it’s this one.
Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto, who also heads the National Economic Recovery and COVID-19 Response Team, said in a press conference today that the majority of mudik travelers randomly tested for COVID-19 at traffic checkpoints have the viral disease.
“Of a random testing sample of 6,742 mudik travelers, 4,123 were confirmed positive,” he said.
Of those, the majority were sent home for self-isolation, while 75 were hospitalized. The minister did not specify which COVID-19 testing method was used.
Airlangga added that since the mudik ban came into force on May 6, more than 41,000 vehicles have been told to turn around at checkpoints set up along inter-provincial toll roads.
The government previously estimated that some 18 million would be traveling to their hometowns for the Eid holiday this year, a figure much lower than the estimated 81 million had there not been a ban on mudik.
Even with the ban, stubborn travelers have tried their luck in eluding law enforcement, such as by hiding in a vegetable truck, for example.
The mudik ban will end on May 17, though it will be followed with a week of tightened restrictions to domestic travel, which most notably involves COVID-19 test results being valid for just 24 hours.
There is great concern that this year’s mudik would contribute to a surge in COVID-19 cases post-Eid holiday. Before last year’s Eid holiday, Indonesia recorded new cases numbering in the hundreds daily. The daily count shot beyond the 1,000 cases mark a couple of weeks after Eid, which was partly attributed to mudik.