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By Mohd Shukri Ishak
JAKARTA, May 6 -- The Indonesian government has decided to ban mudik, the annual mass exodus from cities to ancestral villages and towns ahead of Aidilfitri, starting from today to 17 May this year.
According to a circular issued by the COVID-19 National Task Force, the move is to curb the spread of COVID-19 that had spiked after major public holidays in the past.
During the mudik ban period, police will set up roadblocks on major toll roads to turn back mudik travelers, while suspensions on air, rail, and sea travel will also come into effect.
This will be the second year for the mudik ban to take place after the policy was first introduced last year to reduce potential risks of COVID-19 transmission.
Before the pandemic, the annual homecoming exodus tradition usually witnessed around 30 million Indonesians going back to their hometowns annually.
However, some exceptions, such as emergency and official travel, apply.
Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy was quoted by local media saying that the mudik ban comes with several exceptions for certain vehicles and conditions.
"High-ranking officials, the COVID-19 task force officers, government operational officers, the Indonesian Army, the National Police as well as toll road officials may still travel on duty.
"They must have a letter of assignment signed by employers or a letter from village head for people who have an urgent matter to attend to," he said.
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