• Saturday, Oct 31, 2020
  • Last Update : 12:15 am

Anti-maskers dig graves as punishment in Indonesia

  • Published at 06:14 pm September 17th, 2020
Indonesia Covid-19
File photo: Gravediggers work during a funeral for victims of the Covid-19 at the Pondok Ranggon cemetery, in Jakarta on August 10, 2020 AFP

Indonesia had its biggest daily rise in Covid-19 infections with 3,963 new cases on Wednesday

Amid fresh surge in Covid-19 cases rise in Indonesia, eight residents who refused to wear masks have been made to dig graves for coronavirus victims in a rural province in the country, the Independent reported.

Wearing masks has been mandatory in the country since April. The government has given local officials the power to decide on punishments for breaches.

The Independent quoted local Indonesian newspapers, Tribun News, as saying, three men and five minors were sentenced to grave-digging duties in in Cerme district of Gresik Regency, East Java on September 9.

The country has seen some resistance to coronavirus restrictions, with a portion of the population refusing to social distance and wear face coverings to stop the spread of the virus.

In Cerme, authorities give those caught flouting mask-wearing laws the option of paying a fine of Rp150,000 or accepting community service, Suyono, Cerme district chief told CNN.

“Most people have opted for the latter,” Suyono said.

Cerme Police chief 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.

While this has largely seen people engage in cleaning duties, or public exercise such as push-ups, Suyono said he hopes assisting with grave digging will show  “firsthand the real and serious effect of Covid-19.”

It comes as the district deals with a shortage of grave diggers.

“There are only three available gravediggers at the moment, so I thought I might as well put these people to work with them,” Suyono told Tribun News.

The leader explained that those being punished did not participate in the burial process.

Authorities in the capital of Jakarta have followed a similar initiative of social punishment for flouting mask restrictions.

Earlier this month, a man was made to lie in a mock coffin in public after breaching the health protocol.

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.

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