Indonesians are now required to wear face masks when leaving their homes, the Indonesian spokesperson for COVID-19-related matters announced yesterday.
“Everyone has to wear their masks. Surgical and N95 masks are only for health workers. Wear fabric masks — this is important because we don’t know if people out there are transmitting the disease, even without symptoms,” Achmad Yurianto said during a press conference in Jakarta.
The new requirement is in accordance with a WHO-issued advisory on the use of masks to prevent COVID-19 transmission, wherein the general public is urged to wear washable, non-medical grade fabric masks.
Achmad said fabric face masks should be washed, at the latest, after four hours of being worn by soaking them in soap water before rinsing.
“Wash your hands with soap, this is the key,” Achmad added.
No penalties for violation of the policy have been announced thus far. However, in Jakarta, public transportation facilities such as the MRT, TransJakarta, and the airport train are refusing passengers without face masks to board vehicles.
Separately, Wiku Adisasmito, an expert from the COVID-19 rapid response team, said that three-layered fabric masks can decrease the chances of getting infected with the coronavirus by 70 percent.
As of yesterday, the government has reportedly conducted rapid tests — the accuracy of which have come under scrutiny — on 9,712 people across the country as the first step towards wider detection of infections. Some 2,000 more have undergone the more accurate swab test.
As of Sunday afternoon, Indonesia has confirmed 2,273 positive cases of COVID-19, which includes 198 deaths and 164 recoveries.