Indonesia’s govt may reimpose outdoor mask mandate

Indonesian Red Cross personnel wearing protective suits spray disinfectant on a road to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Jakarta, Indonesia on Saturday. (Reuters photo). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

JAKARTA, Jun 11, 2022, Jakarta Globe. The Health Ministry is reviewing the decision to lift mask requirements in outdoor settings after the daily Covid-19 number topped 500 in the past few days, Jakarta Globe reported.

A ministry spokesman said Friday that the government is investigating possible links between the recent surge in new cases and new Covid-19 variants named BA.4 and BA.5.

“We are evaluating the loosening mask regulation for outdoor activities. If there is a link between the surge and the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, we will impose stricter health protocols,” Mohammad Syahril said.

“Health protocol is our main measure along with vaccination because we certainly can’t afford another surge like we saw when the Delta and Omicron variants were raging,” he added.

The ministry has confirmed four cases of BA.4 and BA.5 involving an Indonesian citizen and three foreigners who are members of the Global Platform Disaster Risk Reduction delegation.

Syahril said three of the four patients were asymptomatic and all have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

“One of them reported a sore throat and fatigue,” he said.

Indonesia recorded 627 new Covid-19 cases on Friday as the upward trend since the past week continued. The total number of active cases stands at 4,341, government figures show.

The highest daily tally of new Covid-19 cases was nearly 65,000 recorded on February 16.

The country of 273 million has recorded a total of 6.06 million Covid-19 cases and 156,638 deaths since the pandemic began.

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