Anti-maskers in Indonesia are being forced to dig graves for COVID-19 victims

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Funeral workers wearing protective suits bury a coffin of coronavirus (COVID-19) victim at Pondok Ranggon cemetery in Jakarta, Indonesia on September 9, 2020. The cemetery of Pondok Ranggon is almost full as Jakarta’s administration recorded more than 5,000 bodies buried with COVID-19 protocols. (Photo by Anton Raharjo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

INDONESIA (KXAN) — Eight people who refused to wear face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are now facing the punishment for violating Indonesian mandates requiring face coverings.

Their punishment: digging graves for those who have died from COVID-19, according to the Jakarta Post.

“There are only three available gravediggers at the moment, so I thought I might as well put these people to work with them,” local politician and Cerme District head Suyono told Tribun News.

Suyono said that two people were assigned to each grave — one to dig and one to line the hole with wooden boards for support. He added that the violators did not, however, participate in the actual burials.

“Hopefully, this can create a deterrent effect against violations,” he said.

Indonesia made mask wearing mandatory on April 5, SBS News in Australia reports. In addition to grave digging, violators in the country have also been made to sit in a hearse containing a casket — and asked to reflect on their actions.

Meanwhile, businesses who violated the rules were temporarily shut down and made to clean sewers as punishment, a law enforcement coordinator reports.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, over 221,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Indonesia, SBS says. This includes 8,841 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Indonesia has the highest death numbers in all of Southeast Asia.

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