Indonesia has called upon its citizens to wear masks when leaving their homes as part of the country’s first-line defence against further spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Achmad Yurianto, Indonesia’s spokesman for the handling and prevention of coronavirus, said in a news briefing on Sun (5 Apr) that the order is made in line with the World Health Organization (WHO)’s new recommendation.
“Starting today, we will follow WHO recommendation for everyone to use a mask. Everybody must wear a mask,” he said.
Dr Achmad added that members of the public can wear masks made out of cloth while reserving surgical masks and N95 masks for medical workers.
“This has become important because we don’t know unless a person shows any symptom (corona virus). There are many findings overseas where we do know if that person is actually the source of the spread,” he said.
President Joko Widodo today (6 Apr) also urged the people of Indonesia to wear masks.
“I read that WHO advised us to wear mask,” he said after a meeting in Bogor Presidential Palace.
“I demand that now, the mask supply must be well prepared and distributed to the community because we would like to mandate each citizen to wear mask when leaving their house.
“In the early stages, WHO stated that only sick people should wear a mask while healthy people do not need to wear mask. But not now. Everyone who goes outside their house shall wear a mask,” said Mr Joko.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has risen to 2,491 as of today.