Jakarta (ANTARA) - Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin stated that people do not need to use masks in open spaces if they are in good health, after the lifting of the antipandemic Community Activity Restrictions (PPKM).

"We recommend wearing masks in closed and narrow rooms and in crowds. However, it is up to the people. If they feel healthy, they can take off their masks outdoors," he said at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Monday.

Earlier on Friday, President Joko Widodo announced the revocation of PPKM following the issuance of the Home Affairs Minister Instructions Numbers 50 and 51 of 2022.

This revocation, starting December 30, 2022, stated that the use of the official COVID-19 contact tracing application PeduliLindungi in several public places was no longer mandatory.

In his statement, the president said that people must still wear masks in crowds and closed spaces.

"Our strategy to transform from pandemic to endemic is to reduce the government's interventions and increase community participation. People need to be able to decide on their own if and where they need to wear it," Sadikin said.

He expressed optimism that people would have awareness of COVID-19 akin to their awareness of flu, emphasizing that they did not need to be taught to use umbrella when it rains or what medication to take for flu, as they already understood the protocols.

"Slowly, we will oversee the progress to get to the endemic stage. For now, masks are not mandatory in open spaces but are still needed indoors," he emphasized.

He later said that President Widodo was no longer seen wearing a mask in open spaces, including while visiting the Tanah Abang Market on Monday morning.

"The president shows us that public participation and awareness is important. He feels healthy today, so he did not wear mask in open space," Sadikin added.

However, the minister reminded the public to still wear masks in a crowd.

"We must wear masks in a closed room, especially if someone coughs. I will definitely ask them to wear a mask," he said.

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Translator: Desca Lidya N, Resinta S
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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