He cited a survey by the Transport Ministry that showed 24 per cent of the archipelago’s population of more than 260 million were insisting on joining the exodus after Ramadan.
Last year, about 19.5 million people made the journey, the government says, and Joko added that 7 per cent of Indonesians had already set out this year.
The world’s fourth most populous country has recorded 6760 virus infections, south-east Asia’s second highest tally after the neighbouring city state of Singapore, though some estimates put the figure far higher.
In a study last week, researchers at the University of Indonesia’s public health faculty warned that if the exodus were permitted, it could lead to 1 million infections on Java by July. Java is the most populous island, home to Jakarta, the capital.
Now, the President is hoping his mudik ban will help curb the virus’ spread.
Ramadan begins this Thursday.