Jakarta (ANTARA) - Communication and Informatics Minister Johnny G. Plate has invited the public to inculcate new habits, namely wearing masks and getting vaccinated, as part of the new normal for coexisting with COVID-19.

"We must begin to prepare transition and adaptation steps for the era of this new lifestyle, namely a healthy lifestyle that is side by side with COVID-19," Plate said in a press statement issued on Friday.

With the COVID-19 cases declining in Indonesia, the government has begun to reopen social and economic activities, he noted. However, health protocols must still be applied to suppress virus transmission, he added.

"Especially wearing masks and receiving vaccination, both are our efforts to living side by side with COVID-19. By wearing masks and getting vaccinated, people can work, study, exercise, worship, and carry out various activities anywhere with more protection," the minister remarked.

Masking up and getting vaccinated can be considered a part of public participation in efforts to help the government control the pandemic, he said.

"The community has the opportunity to contribute to reducing virus transmission. This is an effort from us, by us, and for us as well. With this effort, hopefully the transmission of COVID-19 will be suppressed and we will not have to implement the emergency PPKM again. The economy will continue to run without neglecting health priorities," Plate asserted.

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Indonesia has administered 100 million vaccines as of August 31, 2021, he noted. This number was achieved in two months, in line with the government's efforts to intensify the vaccination program, he said.

In addition to accelerating vaccinations, the government is also committed to ensuring the availability of vaccines, Plate added. As of September 1, the availability of vaccines in the country has crossed 218.5 million doses, both in the form of raw materials and ready-to-use vaccines, he disclosed.

"Vaccination will reduce the risk of transmission. Even if exposed, we will avoid serious symptoms or fatal consequences," the minister explained.

Even though it has rolled out vaccinations, the government has urged the public to stay vigilant and apply tight health protocols. Failure to implement health protocols could trigger another spike in COVID-19 cases, it has warned.

"Therefore, let us start a new habit by wearing masks wherever and whenever, and always be ready for vaccines when stocks are available. The best vaccines are the available ones. This is part of a new normal for Indonesia who are preparing to live alongside COVID-19," Plate said.

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Translator: Natisha A, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2021