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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Local authorities scramble to prevent wider transmission as 'mudik' starts early

  • Asip Hasani, Bambang Muryanto and Suherjoko

    The Jakarta Post

Blitar, Yogyakarta and Semarang   /   Fri, March 27, 2020   /   09:48 am
COVID-19: Local authorities scramble to prevent wider transmission as 'mudik' starts early Passengers of the Singosari train bound for Blitar, East Java, await their departure at Senen Station in Jakarta on March 26. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

Authorities in Yogyakarta, Central Java and East Java are scrambling with plans to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease as workers from Greater Jakarta have started returning to their hometowns for early Idul Fitri mudik (exodus), as business had slowed due to the outbreak.

The Bantul administration in Yogyakarta province has issued a circular requiring all visitors and residents who enter the regency from other towns to undergo health checks at nearby health facilities and self-quarantine for two weeks.

"We have also asked village officials to observe visitors and residents who have traveled out of town," Bantul administration secretary Helmi Jamharis told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

Sleman regency also took similar measures, with Regent Sri Purnomo going as far as designating mudik travelers under the category of people under surveillance (ODP), which is the government’s classification for people who have recently traveled to infected regions or have come in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient but do not show any symptoms.

"We have cooperated with the village supervisory noncommissioned officers and the police's security and public order officers, as well as village officials to register all visitors to the regency," Sri said.

Of the country’s 893 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 78 fatalities reported as of Thursday afternoon, Yogyakarta recorded 16 positive cases in the province with two deaths.

Yogyakarta Deputy Mayor Heroe Purwadi has formed a task force to monitor people who had arrived in the city for mudik

"All COVID-19 cases in Yogyakarta are imported so it's necessary to take preventive measures," Heroe said.

Heroe, however, said Yogyakarta had yet to see a significant increase in the number of people or vehicles entering the province in recent days.

Its neighboring province, Central Java, however, has reported thousands of mudik travelers arriving in the province, including in Jepara, which recorded 1,776 travelers, Purwokerto with 2,323 travelers and Wonogiri 2,625 travelers as of Tuesday.

A surge of passengers was also recorded at bus terminals in Cepu, Pemalang, Kebumen, Wonosobo and Cilacap.

Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo has requested that local officials register those who had recently returned to cities and regencies in the province and temporarily close tourist destinations, beaches, city squares and other public places.

He had also prohibited religious gatherings and any form of social gathering, including weddings, to contain the transmission of the novel coronavirus, which has infected 40 people and killed in the province.

"I urge all regents and mayors in Central Java to register all mudik travelers, check their health and continuously monitor them," Ganjar said.

Meanwhile, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa said mudik travelers returning to the province would be among those prioritized to undergo COVID-19 tests.

In East Java, 5,619 travelers were recorded to have entered the province via Juanda International Airport from January to March.

"We will receive around 10,000 rapid testing kits from the Health Ministry to be distributed to 29 regencies and nine cities in East Java. We will designate some of the test kits specifically for mudik travelers," Khofifah said on Wednesday.

As of Thursday afternoon, the province had recorded 59 cases of infection with three fatalities linked to COVID-19.

The Transportation Ministry is considering a plan to ban this year’s Idul Fitri mudik but has yet to reach a decision on the matter. (nal) 

 


If you want to help in the fight against COVID-19, we have compiled an up-to-date list of community initiatives designed to aid medical workers and low-income people in this article. Link: [UPDATED] Anti-COVID-19 initiatives: Helping Indonesia fight the outbreak