Jakarta. The Indonesian government is drafting a regulation that will make the wearing of face mask in public compulsory during the coronavirus outbreak, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said on Monday.
Indonesia is experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases, with cases approaching 77,000 as of Monday, including more than 3,600 deaths.
The president said the new rule will carry sanctions against any violation of the health protocol.
"We are preparing sanctions because until today we have to deal with a lack of discipline among the people in observing the health protocol,” Jokowi said at the presidential office in Jakarta.
"For instance, a survey has indicated that in a province, 70 percent of residents don’t wear face masks. How could this happen?” he said.
The president didn’t go into details but last month he cited the same percentage of people not wearing masks when discussing the condition in East Java, the worst hit by the virus with over 16,800 cases and 1,226 deaths.
Sanctions may include fines and social works, or even a short jail term if it classifies as a non-serious crime.
The health protocol also covers physical distancing, ban on public gathering and hand hygiene.
The president said current statistics have suggested that the Indonesian outbreak will reach its peak in August or September.
“The numbers have indicated that the peak will arrive in August or September. However, numbers can change unless we do something so therefore I ask my ministers to work harder,” the president said.