Mask return: External face coverings a ‘must’, says President Jokowi

Get ready to cover up your pretty faces inside And the Outdoors again, folks, President Joko Widodo has also called for the return of strict mask mandates in all public spaces.

Speaking in Jakarta yesterday, the head of state stressed that COVID-19 still exists, so the nation cannot let its guards – and masks – fall just yet.

That is why, whether indoors or outdoors, wearing a mask is still a necessity. He said.

It was the president himself who said in May that masks were no longer mandatory outdoors as the number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia remained low at that time.

In recent weeks, amid rising new infections, Vice President Maarouf Amin suggested for the first time that the rule for outdoor masks might return as a precaution, with Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadkin later making it clear that it was a measure that would only be taken out of necessity.

It seems time for President Jokowi’s statement, although it should be noted that the reinstatement of the foreign mask policy has not been formalized in any official regulations as of the publication of this article.

Under the latest rules, masks are still mandatory in enclosed spaces, including on public transport. Those with health risks, including the elderly, as well as those showing even the slightest symptoms known to be associated with COVID-19, are still advised to hide wherever they go.

Indonesia has consistently recorded around 2,000 new COVID-19 cases per day over the past two weeks, up from earlier this year, but still well below the devastating numbers in 2021.

However, on July 10, there was cause for concern as Indonesia’s comprehensive COVID-19 test positive rate reached 8.5 percent – the highest rate since March. Of all the PCR tests registered that day, 23.58 percent came back positive.

Indonesia has tightened movement restrictions amid a steady increase in new COVID-19 infections in recent weeks. The country is expected to see a significant increase in infections in the third week of July due to the prevalence of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub variants.

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