Indonesia to drop outdoor mask mandate as COVID-19 infections drop

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: People are wearing protective face masks as they shop at a Food Hall Supermarket amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Jakarta

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia will drop requirements for people to mask up outdoors and for vaccinated travellers to show negative pre-departure tests, officials said on Tuesday, as COVID-19 infections decline in the Southeast Asian country.

Masks are no longer required outdoors as "the pandemic is getting more and more controlled", President Joko Widodo said in a statement streamed online.

But masks must still be worn indoors and on public transportation, he said, also recommending that the elderly and those with underlying health conditions or coughs continue to use them as well.

The new mask rules are set to take effect on Wednesday.

Indonesia will also no longer require a negative pre-departure test for foreign and domestic travellers, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin told a news conference.

The latest measures were part of the country's transition to living with the virus, he said.

The easing of pandemic restrictions in Indonesia follows countries like Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia which also dropped their outdoor mask mandates in recent weeks.

Indonesia's daily COVID cases have declined since the last peak in February, although the government has said it is monitoring the possibility of an uptick after the annual mass exodus during the Eid-al-Fitr holiday earlier this month.

(Reporting by Stanley Widianto; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)

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