Viral: Jakarta doomsday shoppers accosted at supermarket for wearing hazmat suits

A couple of videos showing people donning hazmat suits at a supermarket in Jakarta has gone viral over the weekend, sparking anger from netizens and at least one government official amid a crucial shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients across Indonesia. Screenshot from Twitter
A couple of videos showing people donning hazmat suits at a supermarket in Jakarta has gone viral over the weekend, sparking anger from netizens and at least one government official amid a crucial shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients across Indonesia. Screenshot from Twitter

A couple of videos showing people donning hazmat suits at a supermarket in Jakarta has gone viral over the weekend, sparking anger from netizens and at least one government official amid a crucial shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients across Indonesia.

The videos, which were reportedly filmed at Lotte Supermarket in South Jakarta’s Gandaria City mall, show at least two men, as well as a husband and wife, wearing hazmat suits, goggles and N-95 masks as they shop for groceries. 

The footage showed them getting scolded by the store manager, who said they were inciting panic among other shoppers.

“Why are you wearing hazmat suits and all these [equipment]? Because you’re wearing [PPE], people are starting to question things. Just finish your grocery shopping now,” the store manager told the two men.

“I want to shop here, don’t kick us out. I also brought my money here,” the woman, in another video, said to the store manager.

“The people here cannot remain calm because of you two,” the store manager told her off.

South Jakarta Police Chief Budi Sartono confirmed that the viral incident occurred on Saturday, according to information provided by the supermarket.

“We asked the [store] manager, he said it was true [there were people shopping wearing PPE] yesterday evening around 6-8pm,” Budi told Detik yesterday

Budi urged the public not to inappropriately use PPE amid the COVID-19 outbreak, as they are urgently needed by healthcare workers in the frontlines of the fight against the viral disease.

“The public can go out wearing masks and others, but they don’t need to be over-the-top with the PPE, the PPE should be worn by those who need it in the hospital or other places. Going out with masks and gloves is okay, but don’t wear the PPE because it will make others worried,” Budi said.

Separately, State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir expressed his anger at the people in the viral videos.

“The media should criticize this kind of behavior. It hurts, when our brothers and sisters are on duty in the hospitals amid the PPE shortage, there are people like this,” Erick said yesterday, as quoted by Suara.

Prior to these videos, photos of people wearing PPE at a traditional market and supermarket believed to be in the East Java capital of Surabaya have also circulated as of late.

There have been numerous stories about medical facilities with PPE shortage throughout Indonesia. Recently, photos of doctors and nurses at a Puskesmas (community health clinic) in Bogor regency went viral, each sporting different colored discardable raincoats that are generally sold on the streets for around IDR10K (US$0.61) as they had no proper protective equipment.

If you would like to donate money for the procurement of protective gear and other essential medical equipment to aid our healthcare workers in their fight against COVID-19, check out our list of trustworthy local charities here.

 

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CITY: JAKARTACATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: HEALTH, VIRALTAGS:

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