Jakarta (ANTARA) - Speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR) Puan Maharani has lauded the Indonesian government's decision to lift the mask mandate in open spaces after taking into account the controlled COVID-19 situation in the country.

"The DPR lauds the government's COVID-19 handling so that now people can remove masks during outdoor activities or in open spaces that are not crowded," she said in a written statement received here on Wednesday.

The government's move is in accordance with the development of the transition to the endemic phase due to the improving pandemic situation, she noted.

However, people must continue to comply with other health protocols, for example, washing hands with soap, which is essential to not only prevent the transmission of COVID-19 but also other diseases, she stressed.

She advised people to use the health protocols as benchmarks in their activities to prevent the transmission of diseases.

In addition, she urged the community to remain alert about their health as Indonesia is currently in the transition between the wet and dry seasons, which makes people prone to various diseases.

The House Speaker expressed gratitude that Indonesia is currently starting to enter the endemic phase.

With the country making the pandemic-to-endemic transition, children can take part in face-to-face learning in school peacefully, which can ease the burden felt by students and their parents during remote learning, she noted.

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"We hope the learning loss can be handled promptly when Indonesia is already in the COVID-19 endemic phase," she remarked.

Earlier, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sdaikin had said that the high level of awareness among the community on health protocol compliance was one factor that contributed to the government’s decision to ease more COVID-19 restrictions.

Sadikin noted that the initial step in the transition to the endemic phase has been the lifting of the mask mandate in open spaces that are not crowded with people.

Aside from the mask-wearing mandate, the government has also lifted the obligation for fully vaccinated travelers, both domestic and international, to show a COVID-19 test result before traveling.

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Translator: Tri Meilani, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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