In a dramatic turn of events, Java in Indonesia is punishing those who refuse to wear masks in public by making them dig graves for COVID-19 victims. Here is what we know about it so far. By Amitha Ameen

Authorities in Indonesia’s East Java region have come up with a stricter way of enforcing social distancing and mask-wearing policies amongst people. Local leaders in Cerme, a district in East Java punished eight people who refused to wear masks in public by forcing them to dig graves for COVID-19 victims.

Apparently, the idea was proposed by the district’s leader due to a lack of gravediggers in the region. “There are only three available gravediggers at the moment, so I thought I might as well put these people to work with them. Hopefully, this can create a deterrent effect against violations,” he said (as reported on Tribun News).

Two people are assigned to each grave, where one is in charge of digging and the other to insert wooden planks in the hole to help support the bodies. Indonesia does not allow cremations and embalming and usually bodies are buried without a casket. Apart from digging and arranging, the offenders were not allowed to be a part of the ceremonies or allowed to touch the bodies. Locals wearing protective gear were in charge of burying the bodies.

Indonesia on Sunday recorded its sixth consecutive day of more than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases, daily. Currently, the total number of cases is over 2,25,000 and recoveries are 1,61,000 (as on September 16, 2020). The country is gearing up to re-impose social distancing curbs to keep the virus spread in check.

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