News Desk, Jakarta – Despite the country' improving COVID-19 situation, only 15.9 percent of the population intend to go on mudik (exodus) to celebrate Idul Fitri in their hometowns this year, a survey by Indikator Politik Indonesia (IPI) has found.
The figure is far below the government's projection of 31 percent.
The IPI surveyed 1,220 people above the age of 17 nationwide between April 14 and 19, the third week of the Ramadan fasting month, and found that 24.2 percent of the respondents traveled for mudik before the pandemic.
"This means that there are people who used to go on mudik who have decided not to go this year," IPI executive director Burhanuddin Muhtadi said on Tuesday.
Burhanuddin believed that while the government had lifted the mudik ban imposed over the past two years, people were still anxious about COVID-19.
The government estimated that some 85 million people would be traveling to their hometowns for Idul Fitri this year, with around 14 million mudik travelers departing from Greater Jakarta.
It also projected that half of all travelers would use private vehicles, with the Transportation Ministry estimating that 23 million cars and 17 million motorcycles would crowd the nation's motorways over the course of the holiday.
This is the first time since 2020 that the government has lifted the ban on mudik, a tradition that marks the annual Ramadan and Idul Fitri holiday season. However, all mudik travelers must comply with a particular set of COVID-19 requirements.
All travelers must be fully vaccinated and have received a third dose as a "booster". Those who haven't received their booster dose must present a negative result from a rapid antigen or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at checkpoints and during random spot-checks.
Children under 18 years are exempt from the requirement.
The IPI survey found that the majority of respondents agreed with the travel requirements, though most of the respondents that did were not planning to go on mudik this year.
"We have observed that potential mudik travelers tended to disagree with the requirement. Those who are not planning to go on mudik are more anxious [about the pandemic], said Burhanuddin.
Indonesia has seen a declining trend in its daily COVID-19 caseload over the last few weeks, despite an increase in public mobility due to gradually eased restrictions. It has recorded less than 1,000 daily cases nationwide since April 14, with 576 new cases on Tuesday.
During the third COVID-19 wave fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant, the daily caseload surged from mere hundreds in mid-January to peak at more than 63,000 cases on Feb. 17. (dre)