Indonesians Prepare For Eid Holiday Amid Concerns Over Spread Of COVID-19
Added 05-22-20 06:07:02pm EST - “Indonesia, with a population of 260 million, has confirmed more than 20,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 1,320 deaths, but many suspect the numbers are not a true reflection of the disease's reach.” - Npr.org
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People shop in preparation for the Eid al-Fitr holiday at a market in Jakarta on Friday. Achmad Ibrahim/AP hide caption
In Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country, this weekend's Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan will involve mass travel, raising concerns about the effect it may have on the country's COVID-19 infection rates.
President Joko Widodo has said he will not yet ease large-scale social restrictions, insisting his government aims to keep citizens safe. But his administration has loosened some constraints by allowing public transportation to resume, including airlines, at 50% of capacity. Images have circulated on social media showed Jakarta's main airport packed with passengers ignoring physical-distancing rules.
In the midst of a coronavirus pandemic that saw nearly 1,000 new cases in a single day this week, the human "hurricane" this year will carry an estimated 20 million people, says Aaron Connelly, a research fellow with the Singapore-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Eid is to Indonesia what Christmas is the U.S., says Elina Ciptadi, a co-founder of Kawal COVID-19, which is monitoring the pandemic's effects in Indonesia. "Large family gatherings," she says. "Religious gatherings. Open houses. People share meals."
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