Health Minister on Mask Mandate: We No Longer Regulate It
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin stated that his side has no longer specifically regulated the use of face masks in public places. According to him, the government is now lessening its role in intervening in health programs as the COVID-19 pandemic has turned endemic.
“It's the same as the flu. We don't rule it. It’s on the community [if they need to wear a mask or not],” Budi said at Balai Sudirman, Central Jakarta, Tuesday, March 14.
When asked about the consistency of the transition program from pandemic to endemic, Budi said the ministry handed it to the public. If people feel uneasy, unwell, and have not been vaccinated for a long time, Budi recommends they should wear masks. “If not, then it's okay,” he said.
A number of countries have abolished regulations requiring people to wear masks. One of them is Singapore which has implemented this policy since August 29, 2022, given the stable COVID-19 situation.
A similar policy was also enforced in South Korea in early 2023 following the reduction in COVID-19 cases and the end of social restrictions. The use of masks is no longer mandatory in most indoor settings in South Korea, except on public transport and medical facilities.
Most recently, Japan revoked the mandatory wearing of masks on Monday, March 13. Amusement parks, such as Tokyo Disneyland, Japan Railways, and cinema operator Toho are among the major companies that allow customers not to wear masks starting Monday.
In Indonesia, the relaxing rules of the mask mandate outdoors have been in force since May 2022. Budi said terminating the obligation to wear masks was a form of education for the public. “People have a bigger role to protect themselves. The responsibility of maintaining health lies on each of them,” the Health Minister emphasized.
M JULNIS FIRMANSYAH
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