Indonesia will suspend domestic flights and other modes of transportation for the annual homecoming exodus tradition popularly known as mudik next month, as the government seeks to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases during the holiday period.
Mudik coincides with the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which this year is expected to fall on May 13 and 14, with a collective leave day scheduled for May 12 in Indonesia. The exodus, which usually sees around 30 million Indonesians visiting their hometowns annually before the pandemic, will be banned this year between May 6 and 17.
“We are managing transportation [mobility] by prohibiting the use or operation of transportation facilities for all modes of transportation on land, sea, air, and trains, starting from May 6 to May 17,” Transportation Agency spokeswoman Adita Irawati said during a press conference.
Cargo and logistics, however, can carry on like normal, she added. There are exceptions in place for passengers who fulfill certain requirements, such as official travel or emergency trips.
Some flights will still be allowed to operate during this time, though they must be granted permission by the Transportation Ministry.
Before last year’s Eid holiday, Indonesia recorded hundreds of daily new cases. The daily count shot beyond the four-digit mark a couple of weeks after Eid, which was partly attributed to mudik.
Adita said that a survey conducted by the ministry in March found that about 11 percent of the population, which translates to nearly 28 million people, still intends to go on mudik despite the ban.