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Chairing a Limited Meeting on the Homecoming Issue, President: We Focus on Preventing the Widespread of COVID-19

NEWS | 31 March 2020
Cars in toll road during Mudik activity
Illustration of a large number of cars in toll road during Mudik during Eid. Photo courtesy of

Mudik (Homecoming) during Eid in Indonesia is a tradition which involves the movement of people in a large number. As an illustration, in 2019 there was a movement of approximately 19.5 million people to all regions of Indonesia.

When chairing a limited meeting through teleconference with his staff, President Joko Widodo mentioned that in the midst of the corona virus pandemic or Covid-19, the movement of people in such number will impose a huge risk of the expansion of the Covid-19 spread. "I have even received reports from the Governors of Central Java and Yogyakarta Special Region, that the flow of homecoming has occurred earlier than usual," said President Joko Widodo at the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java on Monday, March 30, 2020.

Since the enactment of the emergency response status in DKI Jakarta, said the President, there has been an increase in the flow of homecoming, especially the movement of informal workers from Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi) area to West Java Province, Central Java Province, Special Region of Yogyakarta (DIY), and to East Java Province. Over the past eight days, 876 fleets of interprovincial bus were recorded transporting approximately 14,000 passengers from Jabodetabek to West Java, Central Java, East Java and Special Region of Yogyakarta. "This has not yet include the early flow of homecoming by using other mode of mass transportation such as trains or ships, and air transportation, and the use of personal cars," he added. Therefore, the Head of State emphasised several key points.

First, the current focus of the government is to prevent the widespread of Covid-19 by reducing or limiting the movement of people from one location to another. Second, for the sake of everyone’s safety, the President also asked for the implementation of firmer actions to prevent the movement of people to the regions. According to the President, suggestions alone are not enough to break the chain of the Covid-19 spread. "I see that there have been appeals from community figures and governors to migrants in Jabodetabek for not going back to their hometown and I ask this kind of actions to be sustained and intensified. However, I also think that such appeals, in my opinion, are not enough. Firmer actions are needed to break the chain of the spread of Covid-19," he explained.

Third, the President see that the early flow of homecoming is not due to cultural factors, but dictated more by conditions. For instance, many of the informal workers in Jabodetabek are forced to return to their hometown because their income has dropped dramatically or even disappeared due to the implementation of emergency response policies such as the work from home, learn from home and worship at home policies. "Therefore, I’m asking for acceleration in the implementation of the social safety net programme. It is a social safety net that provides social protection for the formal sector and daily workers; as well as the immediate implementation of an economic incentive programme for micro businesses and small businesses. Such implementations will help informal workers, daily labours, hawkers, all of them, to fulfill their basic daily needs," the President explained. Fourth, the President asked the governors, regents and mayors to increase health observation measures for families who have already gone back to their hometown.

According to the President, observation in each region is very important. "I have also received reports from the Governor of Central Java and the Governor of Yogyakarta Special Region that their province has implemented strict health protocols for homecoming travellers at every village or hamlet. I think this is also a good initiative," he said. The President also reminded that the health protocol should be implemented in a calculated manner and to avoid excessive actions while conducting screenings for travelers who have already arrived at their hometown." The health protocols should be well implemented in ensuring the health conditions of the travelers while making certain that the safety of residents in the village is safeguarded," he said.

Bogor, 30 March 2020 
Press, Media and Information Bureau of the Presidential Secretariat