When all else fails, one way to convince Indonesians to self-isolate, as we’ve seen before with the pocong guards, is to spook them into compliance.
The head of Sragen regency in Central Java is the latest Indonesian official to enact a policy from the supernatural playbook.
According to reports, many Sragen natives have returned to villages in the regency from cities in the past few weeks out of fear of lockdowns. There are also a number of people in the regency under health authorities’ watchlist for possible coronavirus infections, who are officially referred to as people under surveillance (ODP).
Sragen Regent Kusdinar Untung Yuni Sukowati did not mince her words when warning these two groups to self-isolate at home for 14 days.
“If they disobey self-isolation [orders], several villages have asked for my permission to quarantine them in an abandoned elementary school or abandoned houses,” Kusdinar said last week, as quoted by Tribun.
“I gave my permission. If need be, they should be locked inside — in a haunted house if necessary. But we’d still feed them and monitor them.”
Two residents of Plupuh village found out the hard way that Kusdinar was not joking around.
“Two Plupuh residents agreed to self-isolate but they violated the order. So they were locked inside an abandoned haunted house. Had they obeyed their order they wouldn’t have been locked in there,” Kusdinar told Suara today, adding that the house, located in the middle of a rice paddy, is known by locals to be haunted.
She did not say how long the self-isolation violators would have to serve their sentence of terror.
Using abandoned buildings is actually a practical necessity in the regency, officials say, as there is no dedicated quarantine facility in the region.
As of yesterday, five people have been confirmed to have COVID-19 in Sragen, including one death.