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October data links November COVID-19 surge to decline in mask compliance

Jakarta Post - December 4, 2020

Jakarta – Amid the government's robust campaign on the coronavirus health protocols, a survey conducted between Oct. 28 and Nov. 1 indicated a declining trend in the public compliance rate with the face mask and physical distancing policies.

According to antaranews.com, an online survey by the government over the long holiday weekend at the end of October found on Nov. 1 that 59.32 percent of respondents said they wore masks and 43.46 percent said they physically distanced. Both figures continued to decline over the next month until Nov. 27.

"It is very unfortunate. The rate of public compliance with the mask and social distancing policies continues to decline," Wiku Adisasmito, the National COVID-19 task force's expert team coordinator and spokesperson, said on Thursday.

An earlier online survey that Statistics Indonesia (BPS) ran from Sept. 7 to 14 and involved 90,967 respondents nationwide found that the compliance rate for wearing masks was higher than the rate for the two other health protocols of handwashing and physical distancing. The BPS survey results showed that 92 percent of respondents wore masks in public, 75.38 percent regularly washed their hands and 73.54 percent physically distanced.

"We can conclude that the recent long weekend [from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1] was the main trigger for the decline in discipline among the public," said Wiku. "The public must realize that negligence can prove fatal."

Wiku said that people followed the mask protocol in certain spaces. The highest compliance rate was found at restaurants with 30.8 percent, followed by 21 percent at home, 18.8 percent at sports venues, 14 percent on roads and 13.9 percent at tourist attractions.

Citing government data, he said that only nine of 512 regencies and municipalities in the country had reported proper adherence to the face mask rule, while only 4 percent of all regencies and municipalities had reported satisfactory compliance with the physical distancing rule.

Wiku also reminded the public about Florida International University professor Hakan Yilmazkuday's study, "Stay-at-Home Works to Fight against COVID-19: International Evidence from Google Mobility Data ", which stated that 75 percent of a population must wear masks to reduce the number of confirmed cases and deaths.

He therefore strongly urged the Indonesian public to comply with the health protocols, as small individual efforts would have a large impact on everyone's lives.

"Unfortunately, the daily cases continue to increase and it has reached over 8,000 today. It is a very huge number," Wiku added.

Indonesia reported 8,369 new cases on Thursday afternoon, the highest daily surge the country has seen to date, surpassing all previous single-day records by a few thousand cases. The figure brings the total nationwide tally to 557,877 confirmed cases, of which 462,553 have recovered and 17,355 have ended in death. (jes).

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/12/04/october-data-links-november-covid-19-surge-to-decline-in-mask-compliance.htm