Eights persons who refused to wear face masks were forced to dig graves for the COVID-19 victims in the Gresik regency, East Java province of Indonesia. The anti-maskers did not participate in the burial of the deceased persons.
The global pandemic has infected more than 29.7 million people globally and killed over 939,000. As per the data provided by Johns Hopkins University, more than 221,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in Indonesia. 8,841 have also died due to the fatal virus.
Digging Graves of COVID-19 Victims Was a Punishment For Anti-Maskers
In the incident, which took place last week, the eight defaulters were asked to dig graves of the coronavirus victims, as part of their punishment for not wearing face coverings in public.
Speaking to Tribune News, Cerme district head Suyono, said that he punished the eight persons who did not wear face masks by making them dig graves at a public cemetery in Ngabetan village.
"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 the outlet. He added that the local authorities, overseeing the grave digging, ensured that the health protocols were not violated during the burial process.
The gravediggers were also not allowed to participate in the burials of COVID-19 victims. Two defaulters were assigned to each grave digger at the burial site. While one was tasked with digging the grave, the other laid wooden boards inside the hole to support the corpse, the outlet reported.
Stricter Laws in the Wake of Rising Coronavirus Cases
Stating that the punishment meted to the face mask violators would create a deterrent effect against violations, Suyono said that with the number of cases increasing in Cerme, the village administration is looking out for ways to strengthen protocols in the village.
According to the Regent Law residents who violate the protocols are subject to fines or community service as punishment, reported The Jakarta Post.
Speaking to the outlet, Cerme Police chief Moh. Nur Amin said police in collaboration with the Indonesian military would work towards enforcing the new health protocols, including dispersal of public. "We urge the public to wear face masks in accordance with the COVID-19 health protocols," he said.