REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, BANDUNG -- Haze that affected several parts of Indonesia in recent weeks has caused 22,535 people to develop upper tract respiratory infection, Health Minister Nila F Moeloek said.
"The number of people suffering from upper tract respiratory infection reached 22,535 as of September 11, 2015. The figure is likely to increase as haze caused by forest fires still continues," the minister said at a national symposium on health communication at Padjadjaran University (Unpad) campus in Jatinangor east of here on Wednesday.
The weather caused by haze in Sumatra has exceeded the threshold, she said adding the haze pollution in the island has been categorized as being dangerous.
She called on local residents particularly those who are at the high risk of developing the disease including senior citizens, pregnant women and children to avoid carrying out outdoor activities.
To anticipate the possibility of more people developing the disease, she said the Health Ministry has distributed masks among local residents free of charge, he said.
Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Panjaitan said earlier smoke emergency in Indonesia will still last until the next two months.
"All parties, including the government and the public must anticipate the high potential of haze," he said.
On Friday (Sept 11), 1,059 military personnel were sent to South Sumatra to fight land and forest fires in Musi Banyuasin, Ogan Komering Ilir and Banyuasin districts.