"Close contact with people who do not wear a mask in public spaces, such as traditional markets, cafes, workplaces, and places of worship, increases the possibility of COVID-19 transmission to other people, resulting in either asymptomatic or symptomatic infection," he remarked in Jakarta on Saturday.
If someone goes home after getting infected through external contact, they risk infecting their own family, Bela, who is currently serving as a lecturer and researcher of medical microbiology, molecular biology, and immunology at the University of Indonesia's School of Medicine, said.
Children and teenagers can also contract the virus at their home if the application of health protocols at home is relatively lax than in public spaces, he cautioned.
Related news: Compliance with health protocols up in provinces: task force
Bela stressed the importance of adhering to the health protocols enacted by the government, particularly the 5Ms (wearing mask, washing hands, maintaining distance, avoiding crowds, reducing movement), supporting the vaccination drive, and voluntarily reporting any COVID-19 positive test results to the local authorities.
Those efforts are aimed at easing the application of 3Ts (testing, tracing, treatment) for COVID-19 patients and their close contacts, he said. Early treatment of patients and proper 3T application will reduce the COVID-19 infection and death rate, he added.
He also urged the public to be careful and selective when receiving information related to COVID-19, particularly dubious news or blatant hoaxes, and to prevent false information from spreading to others.
"The public should not act on their own (without any prior knowledge) and spread clearly unscientific hoaxes," Bela remarked.
Related news: Task force blames COVID spike on poor compliance with health protocols