KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 — In a subdued video message broadcasted yesterday on Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim religious holiday, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and first lady Iriana called on all Indonesians to make sacrifices in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The government had earlier banned the annual traditional exodus (known in Indonesia as mudik) which usually sees millions of people move across the country, returning to their hometowns.
In his message, Jokowi urged the Indonesian public to prioritise health above of all, particularly of their families.
All gatherings and open houses have been banned along with mass congregational prayers in mosques and public areas. A fatwa was issued allowing for Eid al-Fitr prayers to be performed at home.
A number of measures were introduced during the earlier Ramadan period to impose social distancing and to help reduce the spread of the disease, including not permitting public congregational prayers to be performed.
However, the authorities have struggled to ensure that the bans are enforced. The travel bans involve tens of millions while regional governments have also sent out mixed messages regarding social distancing and visiting relatives and friends during the festive season.
There has been much public frustration over the central government’s handling of the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, particularly on the issue of personal protection equipment and the distribution of aid.