On September 9, three middle-aged men and five minors were sentenced to life in prison in the Serme district of the Greek Regency in East Java.
Although wearing a mask is mandatory throughout Indonesia, there is a section of the population that is reluctant to wear a mask and maintain social distance.
Experts say the lack of public vigilance has made it more difficult for Indonesian authorities to prevent the spread of the virus, which has affected 230,000 people in the country. Of these, more than 160,000 patients recovered. At least 9,100 people have died, according to the Indonesian Ministry of Health.
As the number of cases increased in recent months, the Indonesian government passed a law in July requiring people to wear masks in general, but left it up to local officials to determine the penalties for disobedience. A joint team of “three pillars” comprising the Indonesian National Armed Forces, the Indonesian National Police and local law enforcement agencies are tasked with enforcing mask controls across the country.
In Serm, district leader Suyono says those who do not wear the “three pillars” mask face a fine of up to $ 150,000 ($ 10) or accept what the government calls “social punishment.”
Suno, who goes by one name, told CNN that most people have accepted social punishment and that it often involves push-ups or cleaning. However, he hopes that such options as grave digging will be educational and will “directly show the real and serious consequences of Kovid-19”. Suyono said none of the convicts were present at the funeral.
Authorities in the Jakarta capital adopted a similar idea earlier this month. Someone there had to sit in a coffin in public after being caught without a mask.
However, it is not clear whether such penalties have increased the wearing of masks in Indonesia. The country has failed to spread this curve for months, and infections are still on the rise – with the Philippines being the only country in Southeast Asia to report more cases.
In Jakarta, large-scale social restrictions were imposed on Sunday, forcing the authorities to do so for the second time since the outbreak began.
As the number of cases continues to rise, the city’s health infrastructure is on the verge of collapse. Emergency units at all 20 Jakarta hospitals approved to treat Kovid-19 patients have been filled, officials said.