If you’re going to be part of the problem, you’re going to have to be part of the clean-up too.

Like in a lot of places, health officials in the district of Cerme, in Indonesia’s East Java province, are concerned about rising coronavirus infection numbers in the community. And also like in many other places, they’re having a hard time getting everyone to wear masks when in public.

In an attempt to force greater compliance with the preventive measure, the Cerme authorities have begun issuing fines or assigning community service to those who refuse to wear masks. Instead of being made to pick up roadside litter, scrub graffiti, or any of the other things we often imagine when we think of community service, though, one recent group of violators was sent to a local ceremony to dig graves, specifically for residents who have died from COVID-19.

“There are only three gravediggers at the moment, so I thought I might as well put these people to work with them,” the Jakarta Post quotes Cerme district head Suyono as saying on September 9 in regard to the unusual punishment handed down to eight people. However, the official added that while the non-maskers were put to work digging and preparing the graves, they were not made to participate in the actual interment of the bodies.

While Soyona’s statement that the cemetery has “only” three gravediggers implies a genuine need for assistance in digging all the graves that are needed, the primary intent was no doubt to make the non-maskers more aware of the fact that coronavirus transmission can be a matter of life or death for many, and that in the grand scheme of things the mild discomfort or presumed unfashionableness of wearing a mask in public are things best endured for the sake of the greater good.

Source: Tribun News via The Jakarta Post via Gizmodo
Top image: Pakutaso
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