Jakarta (ANTARA) - The easing of the government's mask policy must be supported with vigilance and health protocol compliance, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Mohammad Syahril, has said.

"This easing of the mask policy must be supported by maintaining health, one of which is by implementing the health protocols," he stressed at the Ministry of Health Building here on Wednesday.

The pandemic has taught people to maintain a high level of awareness and prevent the spread of the virus by wearing masks, maintaining a safe distance, and washing hands because COVID-19 can be transmitted through the air.

Similarly, acute hepatitis is believed to have the ability to transmit through the air and the gastrointestinal tract. "Even though the President has announced it (lifting of the mask mandate), there are still obligations that must be understood and watched out for," he emphasized.

Syahril, who also serves as the president director of the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital, said that the virus can transmit to people within a radius of 1–2 meters through droplets.

He assured that the government's decision regarding the lifting of the mask mandate in open spaces has been made after long consideration.

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

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

The government has also lifted the obligation for fully vaccinated domestic and international travelers to show a COVID-19 test result before traveling.

The first case of COVID-19 in Indonesia was confirmed in March 2020. According to data from the COVID-19 Handling Task Force, as of May 18, 2022, the nation has recorded a total of 6,051,532 COVID-19 cases, 5,891,190 recoveries, and 156,498 deaths.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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