Purwokerto, C Java (ANTARA) - The government's decision to lift the mask mandate in open spaces is appropriate, virologist from Jenderal Soedirman University (Unsoed), Dr. Daniel Joko Wahyono, MBiomed, has said.
"The government's policy on the limited easing of restrictions, especially regarding mask-wearing in open spaces, is appropriate," he said here on Wednesday.
However, Wahyono stressed that the policy must be implemented while monitoring the development of COVID-19 cases in the country.
"This policy should also be dynamic; if there is a spike in new cases of COVID-19 due to a new variant in the future, it will be necessary to reapply the obligation to wear masks in open spaces," he explained.
He highlighted that mask-wearing is still very useful in preventing various other virus transmissions.
In addition, information regarding the mask policy must be disseminated massively to the public, including information regarding people who are allowed to remove their masks in open spaces, where the policy is applicable, and the conditions related to the policy, he added.
The virologist said he is optimistic that in the future, COVID-19 cases in Indonesia will be brought under greater control.
"Hopefully, COVID-19 cases can be controlled, and the pandemic will end soon because it seems that the new variant that has recently emerged is more easily transmitted but has less pathogenicity so the clinical symptoms are milder," he noted.
Earlier, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had highlighted that the government has decided to ease the policy of wearing masks in open spaces after taking into account the controlled COVID-19 situation in Indonesia.
"The handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia is increasingly under control, and the government has decided to ease the policy on wearing masks," the President stated at the Bogor Presidential Palace, as seen in a video uploaded on the Presidential Secretariat's YouTube channel on Tuesday.
However, the easing of the rules for wearing masks only applies outdoors and not in closed rooms or while using mass transportation.