Indonesian president directs residents to wear masks

President Joko Widodo urged the government to accelerate production of masks to stem the spread of COVID-19

Indonesian president directs residents to wear masks
Indonesian President Joko Widodo

JAKARTA

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has directed his government functionaries to accelerate the production of face masks to stem the spread of novel coronavirus or COVID-19. 

"All residents who leave their homes are required to wear masks,” said the president during a meeting on Monday.

The decision was made following the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO).

"Previously, WHO said that only sick people were required to wear masks, but now everyone is obliged to wear it, whether you are sick or healthy," Widodo added.

Widodo also urged for the acceleration of the production and distribution of personal protective equipment for medical personnel.

“The surgical and N95 masks are for health workers only. Meanwhile, non-health workers may wear cloth masks,” said the Official Spokesman Achmad Yurianto on Sunday.

Yurianto, who has been assigned the task to brief on COVID-19 related issues, said a cloth mask can be used up to four hours.

Indonesia on Monday reported 11 new deaths and 218 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total death toll to 209 and total confirmed cases of the global pandemic to 2.491.

Since appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 183 countries and regions, according to figures compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

The data shows more than 1.2 million cases have been reported worldwide, with the global death toll nearing 70,000, and over almost 263,000 recoveries.