Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture has said that people at large still need to remain disciplined about wearing masks given that COVID-19 is not over yet.

"People still need to be disciplined about wearing masks," said Deputy for the Coordination of Health Quality Improvement and Population Development at the ministry Agus Suprapto when contacted here on Wednesday.

The lifting of restrictions on community activities (PPKM) does not mean that the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, Suprapto explained.

"In addition, as stated by the Ministry of Health, the emergency status of COVID-19 in Indonesia is still in effect today, even though PPKM has been revoked," he said.

Therefore, the community still needs to strengthen discipline in implementing the health protocols, including wearing masks, he added.

The use of masks has been found very effective in protecting people from the potential transmission of COVID-19 and other diseases, such as upper respiratory infections (ISPA) and tuberculosis (TBC), he said.

"To get protection from the risk of transmission of COVID-19, the use of masks should still be prioritized, especially for those who are sick and also those who have comorbidities," he added.

The ministry, he said, will continue to strengthen education and outreach regarding the importance of wearing masks.

"Socialization will continue to be strengthened to increase public awareness and understanding," he said.

Meanwhile, Spokesperson for the Health Ministry Mohammad Syahril said that the COVID-19 emergency status in Indonesia is still in force given that revoking the status will require a lot of special consideration by the government.

The consideration would be ensuring that COVID-19 cases can really be controlled to the maximum.

In addition, the government is still waiting for the revocation of the global pandemic status by the World Health Organization (WHO).

"Indonesia is one of the countries that received warnings from the WHO to remain vigilant," he said.

The warning was conveyed bearing in mind that there are still a number of countries that have experienced a spike in cases, such as China, due to the Omicron BF.7 sub-variant, which is estimated to have infected around 250 million Chinese citizens.

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Translator: Wuryanti Puspitasari, Katriana
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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