JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia’s Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said people who are in good health are not required to wear a mask in open space.
The announcement was made after the Southeast Asian nation lifted its Covid-19 restrictions as the case numbers eased in recent months.
"Mask-wearing is recommended in closed and narrow rooms as well as in crowds. However, it is up to the people. If they feel healthy, they can take off their masks outdoors," Budi said at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Monday, Jan. 2.
Earlier, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo lifted the Enforcement of Restrictions on Community Activities (PPKM) on Friday following the issuance of the Home Affairs Minister Instructions No. 50/2022 and No. 51/2022.
This revocation, starting Dec. 30, 2022, said that the use of the official Covid-19 contact tracing application PeduliLindungi in several public places was no longer mandatory.
In his statement, the president said that people must still wear masks in crowds and indoors.
"Our strategy to transform from pandemic to endemic is to reduce government's interventions and increase community participation. People need to be able to decide on their own if and where they need to wear it," Minister Budi said.
He expressed optimism that people would have awareness of Covid-19 akin to their awareness of flu, emphasizing that they did not need to be taught to use umbrella when it rains or what medication to take for flu, as they already understood the protocols.
"Slowly, we will oversee the progress to get to the endemic stage. For now, masks are not mandatory in open spaces but are still needed indoors," he emphasized.