COVID-19 control effective through human discipline in wearing masks

COVID-19 control effective through human discipline in wearing masks

Pandu Riono, an epidemiologist at the University of Indonesia (UI). (ANTARA/Virna P Setyorini)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Pandu Riono, an epidemiologist at the University of Indonesia (UI), believes that the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) can be effectively controlled through human discipline and willingness to wear face masks.

"I think that method will work if we also invite the public to supervise if there is any non-compliance. Those not accustomed to wearing masks will later get habituated to wearing them," Riono remarked while addressing a Wear Mask Movement webinar themed "Indonesian economy on the verge of recession. What's the Solution?" here on Monday.

Riono highlighted the need to get accustomed to the habit of wearing masks in the wake of the long-term impact of the pandemic that can protract for two to three years. Riono believes that vaccines are not the only solution.

"This is because even if (the vaccine) is developed, the production would take time and effort. Just imagine how many will have to be produced for all the Indonesian population. Hence, do not rely only on vaccines. Use what is available as of now, which are face masks," he added.

Riono pointed out that oftentimes asymptomatic people transmitted the virus while citing the example of office clusters or dormitories wherein one asymptomatic person can transmit COVID-19 to a thousand others.

"Hence, do not underestimate the severity of the virus," he emphasized.

To thwart the spread of COVID-19, one should wear a face mask. This is especially important since a large-sized droplet can directly fall to the ground, but the small ones first remain afloat in the air, particularly in a poorly ventilated room that turns out to have a high transmission rate.

"Hence, the only choice is that we must wear masks. (Public campaign to wear masks) must propagate a great message, notably that masks protect you and me," he reiterated.

It is necessary for the government to conduct an extensive campaign to wear masks.

“Please focus on handling the pandemic first, so that the economy can be restored," he stated.

Chairperson of the Movement to Wear Masks (GPM) Sigit Pramono opined that the campaign message should be simple and easily understood by the public.

Pramono advised against the use of “new normal” words.

"Right from the president until whoever he or she would be should spread the message that wearing a mask protects you and me," Pramono stated.

GPM will launch a movement to wear masks for women community groups on Aug 17, and at the end of the same month, it will be launched for the younger generation.

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