The Jakarta Post
Many residents of regions across Java have been ignoring the government’s mudik (exodus) ban and are insisting on traveling home undetected, even though some are testing positive for COVID-19 upon arriving in their respective hometowns.
Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said he had received reports and photographs showing travelers returning to their hometowns across the province, with some coming by dangerous means.
“Some have put their cars inside trucks and covered them with other stuff. There were also some who traveled in a container [on the back of a truck], although that’s not confirmed yet,” Ganjar said on Tuesday in Semarang.
The governor added that he had received a report from the Cilacap regent, who said that some people recently arrived the regency despite the mudik ban had tested positive for COVID-19.
Cilacap Health Agency head Pramesti Griana Dewi confirmed that eight residents of Cimanggu district tested positive for the disease. They had traveled to Cilacap in the same car from Jakarta.
The travelers had tested positive following a rapid test and were now declared patients under surveillance (PDPs). They would undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to make sure of their medical status.
“We will announce if the swab test results come back positive,” Pramesti told tribunnews.com on Sunday, adding that the eight patients showed no medical symptoms of having contracted the coronavirus.
Ganjar asserted that going on mudik secretly would be dangerous to travelers’ health as well as risking others’ lives. He called on people under his jurisdiction to be open in communicating with officials if they had to go home under urgent circumstances.
“If you really have to go home, you should request a letter of permission. I think the government will wisely consider it,” he said, asking that residents should stay where they were while the government distributed necessary social aid.
Ganjar said he had asked regents, mayors and village heads across Central Java to prepare health protocols and quarantine places for travelers who returned to their hometowns.
According to the Jakarta Police, the number of vehicles leaving Jakarta increased two days prior to the enforcement of the mudik ban on Friday. Once the policy was imposed, the traffic police had asked around 1,200 motorists attempting to leave Greater Jakarta to turn around, as reported by kompas.com.
The number of vehicles told to turn around amounted to 3,300 on Sunday, as revealed by Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus.
Authorities have set up checkpoints in several locations across Java to monitor the flow of vehicles between cities and provinces following the mudik ban.
People found violating the ban were subject to the maximum punishment of fines amounting to Rp 100 million (US$6,490) and a year’s imprisonment, as stipulated in the 2018 Health Quarantine Law. (syk)