JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia’s Minister of Home Affairs is encouraging regional heads to distribute free masks to their constituents in a bid to improve public compliance with Covid-19 health protocols in the country.
Tito Karnavian said he believes many Indonesians are unaware of the purpose behind wearing a mask or cannot afford it.
The provision of free masks would help members of society who are unable to purchase it, he added.
Tito Karnavian said he believes that the distribution of masks can be used as an opportunity to educate Indonesians on their use during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Since some members of society might not know the purpose of a mask or can’t afford it, we need to share the information with them while helping those who do not have the means to purchase it,” said the Minister.
Most recently, he attended an event that distributed 1.2 million masks to the citizens of Gowa Regency in South Sulawesi.
“This has nothing to do with a campaign. It is about us assessing regional heads and whether they want to participate in the Ministry of Home Affairs’ invitation to distribute masks for Indonesians,” said Tito.
For selected areas, the Minister hopes that the distribution of masks for Indonesians can also include the distribution of hand sanitizers.
Regional governments have been requested to step up measures in encouraging their residents to eat healthy and strengthen their immunity.
As part of the ministry’s Covid-19 management, it has worked with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Villages, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration for the execution of social assistance programs.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has also formed a special task force for the job.
Prioritizing public health is insufficient, Tito Karnavian said, noting that focus on the economy is also essential.
“We know that we need to save both. Protecting public health is the main priority, but without neglecting the economy."
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