Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Society of Respirology (PDPI) has appealed to people to wear masks and follow the health protocols while performing tarawih prayers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan this year.

"Ramadan is approaching; it (Ramadan) is time (for people) to gather, and we really have to be very vigilant," secretary of the infection working group of PDPI, Irawaty Djaharuddin, said at the "COVID-19 Still Lurking" webinar, which was followed online from here on Tuesday.

She highlighted that currently, COVID-19 is still a threat in Indonesia even though the trend of positive and active cases has tended to be lower compared to the previous years.

Moreover, there are many people with low immunity and comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, she said.

By wearing masks during worship activities, people can help each other, especially older adults, in reducing the risk of COVID-19 infections because, based on several studies, the main factor of severe COVID-19 symptoms is comorbidity, she explained. Thus, it must be watched out for.

"Please be aware that the immune system of older adults is not as good as young people or those that have strong immune systems," she said.

For tarawih prayers, people may use regular medical masks that are considered to offer adequate protection while performing worship activities at the mosque, Djaharuddin added.

PDPI has also advised people to avoid smoking cigarettes since that can make it easier for viruses or germs to enter the respiratory tract.

Then, in view of people's habit of shaking hands or having cheek kissing to show friendship or family relationship, she suggested that the community strengthen the health protocols by routinely washing hands with soap or using hand sanitizers.

If possible, people are being encouraged to reduce physical contact to ensure their health.

According to a member of PDPI's infection working group, Fathiyah Isbaniah, people must still wear masks while carrying out their activities.

In line with the appeal from the COVID-19 Handling Task Force, people must wear masks, especially when doing activities in indoor spaces and in crowds. She also asked the community to complete their vaccination before joining the 2023 Eid al-Fitr mudik (homecoming exodus).

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Translator: Hreeloita Dharma, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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