Following the Indonesian government’s announcement yesterday to ban the yearly “mudik” tradition to celebrate Hari Raya in the hometown, over 6,000 people are reported to have left Jakarta — known to be the epicentre of COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
Kalideres Terminal, one of the main intercity bus terminals in Jakarta, has recorded over 6,018 people travelling back to their respective hometowns. Many of them were headed to Bandar Lampung in Sumatera, while others were set to return to Central Java and West Java.
“That is the total [number of] passengers we recorded in the month of April,” Head of Kalideres Terminal Revi Zulkarnaen told Kompas on Monday (20 April).
He added that the average passenger in the terminal can reach 200-250 passengers a day, with most of them having purchased a ticket in advance.
Before the announcement of the mudik ban, the government still allowed mudik with a note that the person will be put as “person under investigation” (ODP).
This will require ODP to follow the protocols imposed by the Ministry of Health, including engaging in 14 days of self-isolation.
Recently, however, the Ministry of Transportation’s survey revealed that 24 per cent of Indonesia’s citizens insisted on partaking in mudik despite the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country, which has pushed the government to ban the annual exodus this year.
Separately, the country’s Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan announced that the mudik ban will come into effect on Friday (24 April) with travel restrictions in COVID-19 red zones.
“The mudik ban will be effective starting Friday, but sanctions [for violators] will be enforced starting 7 May,” said Mr Luhut in a video conference on Tuesday.
Despite the ban, Mr Luhut, who is also the Acting Minister of Transportation, said that public transportation across Greater Jakarta will continue to operate.
This decision was made for the benefit of workers who still need to commute, especially those who work in essential sectors.
“The relevant ministries and institutions will take immediate steps to prepare for operational technicalities in the field, including ensuring the flow of supplies. As such, toll roads will not be closed,” he noted.
Jail terms, hefty fines among possible sanctions for violators of the mudik ban
To ensure compliance with the mudik ban, which is expected to come in effect on 7 May, officials are considering imposing stiff penalties such as jail terms and heavy fines to those who flout the restrictions.
“The sections are stated in the Health Quarantine Law No 6 of 2018. I don’t remember it precisely, but we would probably follow that regulation,” Director-General of Land Transportation Budi Setiyadi told Detik.
Article 93 of Law Number 6 of 2018, offenders may be subject to prison time of up to one year or an administrative penalty of up to Rp100 million (S$9,148.01).
In a separate interview, Adita Irawati, spokesperson for the Transport Ministry, informed that the government is still discussing whether to impose such sanctions for those who ignore the mudik ban.
In the meantime, officials may issue an initial warning and instruct people to return to their homes or to go back to where they originally come from.
As of today (22 April), the country has recorded 7,418 confirmed cases — an increase of 283 from yesterday.
Meanwhile, the number of ODP has increased to 7,241, bringing the number of total ODP to 193,571.