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Indonesia Bans Annual Holiday Exodus Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo on April 21 announced a ban on domestic travel that takes place every year during the time of Eid al-Fitr to prevent spread.


Indonesian President Joko Widodo on April 21 announced a ban on domestic travel that takes place every year during the time of Eid al-Fitr. The most populous Muslim country in the world banned the annual ritual of people travelling to their hometowns in order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. Joko Widodo announced the ban at a cabinet meeting which was based on an assessment that people are planning trips despite lockdown measures in place to contain the virus. 

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According to the Indonesian government, around 24 per cent of the population takes the annual trip at the time of the festival. The ban will be on air and road travel as most people primarily use these two modes of transport during the holiday season, said Luhut Pandjaitan, the acting transport minister. As per reports, the ban will be effective from April 24 and violators will be punished from May 7. The government has said that it will distribute free foods to poor and jobless in the cities as part of the social assistance program. 

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The country of 270 million people has recorded 7,135 confirmed coronavirus cases so far, of which 616 people have lost their lives. According to data by worldometer, there are currently 5,677 active cases in Indonesia, while 842 patients have been treated successfully. 

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Coronavirus outbreak

The coronavirus outbreak has infected over 2.49 million people globally and has killed nearly 1,70,000 patients since it first broke out in December 2019. The virus is believed to have originated from a seafood market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the initial epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally. Other countries that are currently the worst affected are Italy, Spain, France, Iran, and the United Kingdom, where the death toll has surpassed 16,000 mark each. 

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(Image Credit: AP)

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