Jakarta (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy has said that Indonesia is optimistic about entering the COVID-19 endemic phase.

"The President has allowed us to take off our masks, especially outdoors (in open spaces)," he noted at the Heritage Room of the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture Building, Central Jakarta, on Thursday.

Indonesia's strength in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be separated from the leadership of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), he said.

"Apart from his leadership, this is because of the involvement of civil society forces; of course, without them, I'm not sure the pandemic could be handled well," he remarked.

In the past three weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country has declined overall, despite an increase being recorded in several cities such as Jakarta, the minister added.

Even though the number of COVID-19 cases in some areas is increasing, he assured that the increase has not been exponential.

Earlier, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin 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.

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, he noted.

However, people are still being urged to wear masks during indoor activities and while using public transportation.

Vulnerable people and those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms are also being advised to mask up.

Besides nixing the mask-wearing mandate for outdoor activities, the Indonesian 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 19, 2022, the nation recorded a total of 6,051,850 COVID-19 cases, 5,891,574 recoveries, and 156,510 deaths.

Related news: Gov't to gradually roll back COVID treatment subsidies
Related news: Indonesia nearing end of COVID-19 pandemic: KSP

Translator: Andi Firdaus, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2022