Indonesia will ban its traditional annual exodus by people streaming out of cities at the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, as the Southeast Asian nation looks to curb the spread of coronavirus, President Joko Widodo said on Tuesday.
Indonesia’s tally of 616 virus deaths is the highest in East Asia after China, but Widodo had previously resisted a ban, seeking instead to persuade people to stay put.
Watch: A group of inmates in #Indonesia celebrated their early release over #coronavirus fears in TikTok videos that show them dancing out of prison to a remixed version of music from Spongebob Squarepants.#COVID_19https://t.co/bNbsaCzoJO pic.twitter.com/FBRfJrybI5— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) April 10, 2020
“Better late than never”
Without the exodus, that figure could be cut to 750,000 cases, the researchers said.
However, the ban was not too late, as the outflow was expected during Ramadan, which starts later this week, said Pandu Riono, one of the researchers.
Preventing people’s travel would be tough, given their “fatigue from being locked up” by the extensive curbs, said Jeje Zaenudin, deputy chairman of the mainstream Islamic Union.
The world’s fourth most populous country has recorded 7,135 virus infections for southeast Asia’s second highest tally after the neighboring city state of Singapore, though some estimates
put the figure far higher.