Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie, Jakarta – The government has prohibited civil servants from participating in the annual Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) to their hometowns, in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
In a circular issued on Monday, Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said that civil servants and their families were prohibited from going on mudik until the country "is free of COVID-19".
He also asked the staff development officers of ministries, agencies and regional administrations to ensure that their civil servants stayed in their respective regions and did not participate in the mudik. The officers were also asked to formulate a COVID-19 relief policy for civil servants and their families.
"If civil servants have to travel outside of their region, they have to acquire permission from their supervisor," the circular said, adding that civil servants who violated the regulation would be subject to disciplinary sanctions.
Civil servants were also asked to urge their neighbors not to participate in the mudik or to go out of town during the COVID-19 outbreak period and to heed the government's appeal to keep a distance in social interactions and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
The government has not prohibited the mudik for the general public, citing economic considerations.
Many public health experts have advised against the practice as it risks further transmitting the disease to regions with low healthcare capacity. Two of Indonesia's largest Islamic mass organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, have also advised people against participating in the mudik.
According to 2019 data from the National Civil Service Agency (BKN), there are 4.28 million civil servants across the country.
According to the official government count, there were 2,738 cases of COVID-19 in the country as of Tuesday, with 221 deaths.