The story of a third grader from East Kalimantan who became an orphan after his parents succumbed to COVID-19 has tugged at the hearts of Indonesians across the country.
The 10-year-old boy, Vino, is still undergoing quarantine by himself at his home in West Kutai regency. According to reports, Vino’s mother, 31-year-old Lina Safitri, died while she was five months pregnant on Monday, and his father, 31-year-old Kino Raharjo, passed away the day after at the same hospital.
Vino’s family are reportedly migrants from Central Java, and Kino was a street peddler selling pentol (a snack resembling meatball or bakso, but with more cassava starch than actual meat).
Margono, Kino’s older brother, said that the latter received his first COVID jab in late June but fell sick not long after. Kino continued to work as usual, thinking that he was merely experiencing post-vaccination symptoms. However, his condition deteriorated and he later tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this month.
Kino went into self-isolation, while Lina took a PCR swab test that came out positive. She was then treated at the hospital due to her pregnancy, but her health rapidly declined as she had a history of asthma. Kino, meanwhile, did not recover while he was isolating at home, and he eventually died.
Vino also tested positive for the coronavirus but has been asymptomatic. He is currently self-isolating at home and wasn’t able to attend his parents’ funeral because of health protocols.
“We told [Vino] that his father and mother have died. He responded by crying,” Margono said.
“He said: ‘How could they die? Mom and dad are still young.’”
Vino’s extended family members and neighbors have been keeping him company from a distance, some even staying overnight under a makeshift tent to make sure he’s not entirely on his own. According to Margono, the company of other family members have cheered Vino up a little. One of the boy’s aunts may eventually bring him to Central Java once he finishes quarantine and when travel restrictions are eased in Indonesia.