President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has made it mandatory for all Indonesians to wear face masks in public to prevent them from transmitting or contracting the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
To this end, the government must ensure the availability of face masks to meet the people's demand, he informed cabinet members during a videoconference meeting at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java, on Monday.
"Preparations should be made to ensure the availability of these face masks. They should be provided to the people, as we are keen to see everybody wear face masks in public," he stated while pointing out that the World Health Organization (WHO) too had suggested wearing masks.
In the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak, WHO officials had suggested that those falling ill should necessarily wear face masks. However, the organization has called on all people to wear face masks while venturing outdoors, he explained.
The Indonesian Government’s spokesman for handling COVID-19, Achmad Yurianto, had remarked earlier that the people, at large, could wear homemade cloth masks in public since they could be washed and reused.
"All must wear masks because we do not know whether someone is a coronavirus carrier. Regular people can wear homemade cloth masks, while surgical masks and N95-type ones are only worn by health workers," he stated at a press conference on Sunday.
Yurianto suggested that cloth masks should be washed after being used for four hours by firstly soaking them in a container with soapy water.
The coronavirus pandemic, which initially struck the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019, has spread to various parts of Indonesia. Jakarta is the epicenter of the virus outbreak in the country.
As of Sunday, Indonesia had 2,273 confirmed cases, while death toll from COVID-19 was recorded at 198, while 164 patients were discharged from hospitals after doctors declared they had fully recovered.
Taking into account the ongoing threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, President Jokowi had reiterated the significance of handling the mobility of Indonesians and foreigners arriving in