Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Indonesia begins random Covid-19 tests for travellers returning home after Idul Fitri



Indonesia begins random Covid-19 tests for travellers returning home after Idul Fitri

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A commuter gets her ticket checked at Jakarta’s Pasar Senen train station. THE STRAITS TIMES

Indonesia begins random Covid-19 tests for travellers returning home after Idul Fitri

Indonesia on May 15 implemented random Covid-19 tests and mandatory checks on travellers returning from their hometowns following Hari Raya Idul Fitri, in a bid to stave off a surge in Covid-19 cases.

The random tests will be carried out in 21 locations on travellers departing from provinces across Java island to Jakarta, said Airlangga Hartarto, head of the Covid-19 mitigation and national economic recovery committee.

It is also mandatory for all travellers from Sumatra island to the capital via Bakauheni port in Lampung to produce Covid-19 test results that show they are free of the virus.

Airlangga said on a talk show: "It is expected that these measures can monitor the movements of people, to avert a spike in cases in the capital and other regions."

Previous random testing prior to the Idul Fitri period found that 4,123 out of 6,742 travellers had tested positive for the virus.

From early to mid-May, Sumatra's contribution of positive cases to the national tally rose to 27.22 per cent, while its fatality rate also surged to 17.18 per cent.

In contrast, Java's share towards the overall figure declined to 11.06 per cent, while its fatality rate also decreased to 16.07 per cent. Java is Indonesia's most densely-populated island.

Airlangga, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, said that although the figures were "relatively manageable", the rise in cases, fatality rates and bed occupancy rates, should be monitored.

Indonesia is home to 270 million people, 90 per cent of whom are Muslim. At the end of Ramadan each year, millions living in Jakarta and other parts of the country make their way home by air, sea and land in a massive exodus – known as mudik – to celebrate Idul Fitri.

Indonesia banned the mudik for the second year from May 6 to 17 to curb the transmission of Covid-19, which has killed 47,967 and infected 1.74 million as of May 15.

Airlangga claimed that a set of measures taken this year to curb the massive exodus, particularly the blockage of major intercity streets, had been "more effective" compared with last year.

As of Hari Raya on May 13, tens of thousands of vehicles with their occupants on their way home, including more than 64,000 from Jakarta, had been turned back.

The 381 checkpoints were manned by more than 155,000 police, military, public order and transport ministry personnel across the three major Indonesian islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali.

Despite this, some people managed to sneak through.

Speaking alongside Airlangga on the same talk show, transportation minister Budi Karya Sumadi said only around 1.5 million people performed the homebound journeys ahead of Idul Fitri, much lower than the 18 million projected based on an earlier transportation ministry survey.

He added that the number of travellers on air, sea and land, as monitored in departure points like Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, also dropped sharply compared with last year.

Budi also projected that the return exodus might peak between May 16 and 20.

"We advise the people not to travel on those dates," he said.

THE STRAITS TIMES (SINGAPORE)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Restrictions re-imposed in capital as Covid cases surge

    Amid the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has shown no sign of subsiding with 750 infections and 10 deaths reported on June 2 alone, the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has decided to re-impose the suspension of all occupations and business activities deemed as posing high risk of

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway 51% complete

    The construction of the nearly $2 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway is 51.35 per cent complete and is expected to be finished in 2023, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of state Vasim Sorya. Invested in by Cambodian PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd, the first expressway in

  • First 7-Eleven store to open mid-June, ambassador says

    Thai retail conglomerate CP All Pcl will open Cambodia’s first 7-Eleven convenience store in mid-June, Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn told The Post on June 1. The Bangkok-listed 7-Eleven franchise operator, the retail arm of Charoen Pokphand Group Co Ltd, granted CP All (Cambodia)

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • US embassy guard gets Covid despite two doses of Pfizer jab

    The Covid-19 tracking commission on June 4 said a security guard at the US embassy in Phnom Penh had contracted the novel coronavirus, despite having received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot two weeks ago. Embassy spokesperson Chad Roedemeier confirmed the SARS-CoV-2 infection to The

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy