Amid fresh surge in COVID-19 cases rise in Indonesia, eight residents in Gresik regency of east Java who refused to wear face masks in violation of COVID-19 health protocol were asked by authorities to dig graves for COVID-19 victims. Wearing masks has been mandatory in the country since April.
People who did not wear face mask in public were told to assist the gravediggers at a public cemetery in Ngabetan village. Authorities in Cerme, a district located in East Java, also made sure the violators did not participate in the burials.
“There are only three available gravediggers at the moment, so I thought I might as well put these people to work with them,” Suyono, Cerme district chief told tribunnews.com. “One is tasked with digging the grave, while the other lays wooden boards inside the hole to support the corpse. “Hopefully this can create a deterrent effect against violations,” Suyono said.
Cerme Police chief Adj. Pol. Comm. Moh. Nur Amin said the police would cooperate with the military to enforce the protocols, such as by dispersing public gatherings. “We urge the public to wear face masks in accordance with the COVID-19 health protocols,” he told The Jakarta Post.
Indonesia had its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections with 3,963 new cases on Wednesday, data from the country's health ministry showed, says a Reuters report.
Jakarta has declared a partial lockdown from Sept. 14 due to surging coronavirus cases, reaching a total of 228,993 infections. The data added 135 new COVID-19 related deaths, taking the total to 9,100, the biggest death toll in Southeast Asia.
On August 4 Indonesian President Joko Widodo issued a presidential instruction on enforcing health protocols to curb the rising number of Covid-19 cases. Governors, district heads and mayors are required to greatly improve the implementation of health protocols to prevent the spread of Covid-19 by involving society, religious, tribal and other public leaders, as well as other social elements,” according to an Aug. 6 Cabinet Secretariat statement.