SPONSORED:

Indonesian villagers forced to dig graves for coronavirus deaths after caught without mask

Indonesian villagers forced to dig graves for coronavirus deaths after caught without mask
© Getty Images

People who are caught without masks in an area of Indonesia are forced to dig graves for those who die from COVID-19.

Local officials of the Cerme district of Gresik Regency, East Java, ordered three middle-aged men and five minors on Sept. 9 to dig graves for COVID-19 victims, CNN reported Thursday.

Indonesia has a mask mandate, but some have opposed wearing masks and social distancing as the country has confirmed 232,628 COVID-19 cases and 9,222 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University

ADVERTISEMENT

The country’s officials instituted the mask mandate in July but allowed local authorities to determine the punishments for disobeying the rule.

In the Cerme district, officials order those who refuse to wear masks to either pay 150,000 rupiah ($10), or to complete a social punishment. Social punishment is the more popular choice, the district’s leader Suyono told CNN, which usually includes push-ups or cleaning. 

He told the network that he hopes digging graves will help convey “firsthand the real and serious effect of COVID-19.” The gravediggers are not present when the bodies are buried, he added. 

Cases continue to rise in the southeast Asian country as Indonesia’s health care system is reaching its capacity. All emergency units in 20 Jakarta hospitals that have been approved to treat COVID-19 patients are full, officials said Monday, according to CNN.