04/30/2020, 15.18
INDONESIA
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Coronavirus increasing fear and intolerance

by Mathias Hariyadi

People are avoiding human contacts, especially with doctors and medical staff. In one incident, three nurses were forced to leave their rented rooms by their landlady who feared they might be contagious. Towns and villages refuse to bury COVID-19 victims. The country is locked down with no air, rail and sea travel.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Incidents of intolerance over the coronavirus are multiplying. More and more Indonesians are avoiding human contact with people most at risk of contracting the disease, especially doctors and medical staff.

In Surakarta (Central Java), three nurses living in a private home were thrown out by their landlady who feared they might be contagious. "My husband has been ill for the past few days, and the three [nurses] could pass the virus to him," said the landlady to justify her action.

Surakarta Mayor Francis Xavier Hadi Rudyatmo called on police to look into the incident. “This unfriendly gesture shows no tolerance according to Pancasila,” said the mayor. Pancasila refers to Indonesia’s political state philosophy based on five principles.

Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowohimself also spoke out on the issue. He contacted the landlady to express his displeasure, noting that she could be treated the same way since she is a midwife.

As fear spreads, some towns and villages are refusing to bury COVID-19 victims. In some places, local authorities have set up road blocks to isolate their communities and prevent the risk of contagion.

The country is basically locked down with commercial flights and intercity train services halted until 1 June. Since Tuesday, sea travel between Java and Sumatra has also been suspended; only cargo ships can cross the Sunda Strait.

For most people, travel restrictions are a major headache. For example, the family of Domi, a woman who died recently in Jakarta, was unable to bring her remains to Nias (Sumatra) for burial. She was eventually laid to rest in Cengkareng, West Jakarta, in the presence of a small group of friends and family.

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