Senior Indonesian minister made a big oopsie when announcing Eid holiday dates

President Joko Widodo during a press conference broadcasted live on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. Screenshot from YouTube/Sekretariat Presiden
President Joko Widodo during a press conference broadcasted live on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. Screenshot from YouTube/Sekretariat Presiden

Seems like Indonesia’s coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy had gotten too excited about announcing the return of cuti bersama or collective leave days for the upcoming Eid holiday period, as he scrapped the dates he had mentioned in favor of President Joko Widodo’s announcement.

Muhadjir previously declared that this year’s government-mandated collective leave days and Eid holiday will fall from Apr. 29 to May 9. Not long after, however, he backtracked on his own statement, and later clarified that the actual dates will be announced by President Jokowi in a press conference this evening.

“Apologies, it was a mistake. [The collective leave days] will not be that long,” Muhadjir said.

Meanwhile, President Jokowi has confirmed in a live broadcast that the cuti bersama will fall on Apr. 29 and May 4 to 6. Eid is expected to fall between May 2 to 3 this year.

“These collective leave days can be used to reunite with parents, family, and friends in your hometown. But, I still have to assert that the pandemic is not yet over. We still have to be vigilant, and complete your vaccination with a booster vaccine immediately,” Jokowi said in his statement, adding that mudik travelers should still wear their masks and practice health protocols.

Before the steady decline of COVID-19 cases saw the return of multiple off-days for Eid, the Indonesian government previously removed collective leave days from the country’s libur (holiday) schedule in 2020 and 2021 in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus at the time.

Yet despite implementing the policy and enforcing the ban on mudik (a return to one’s hometown) nationwide, surges in COVID cases usually occur after public holidays.

Last year, Indonesia tightened travel regulations ahead of and during mudik. However, millions still reportedly traveled to their hometowns for the Islamic holiday. The incident, alongside the emergence of the Delta variant, led to the deadliest COVID-19 wave in Indonesia in mid-2021.

With mudik allowed again, Indonesia’s COVID-19 Task Force recently issued a circular updating domestic air, land, and sea travel regulations ahead of the homecoming exodus. Those who received their booster shots are not required to show a negative COVID-19 test result, while double-vaccinated travelers have to present a negative PCR or antigen test result taken at least three days or a day prior to departure, respectively.

Travelers who only have received their first dose of vaccine or those with a special health condition must present a negative PCR test result taken at least three days prior to departure, with the latter also required to show a medical certificate from a government hospital that certifies that the individual is unable to get vaccinated for COVID-19 due to their condition.

Children are not required to show their vaccination proof and negative COVID-19 test results as long as they’re accompanied by travel companions who meet the requirements. All categories of travelers have to use the health and mobility tracking app PeduliLindungi.

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