President expects snatching of bodies of COVID-19 patients to stop

President expects snatching of bodies of COVID-19 patients to stop

President Joko Widodo attended the virtual 36th ASEAN Summit from the Bogor Palace, West Java on Friday (June 26, 2020). ANTARA PHOTO/Sigid Kurniawan/POOL/wsj.

Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) expects no future incidents of dead bodies of COVID-19 patients being forcefully taken or snatched, as had occurred in several Indonesian regions.

During a meeting at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, on Monday, the head of state urged all his staff members to involve religious leaders, cultural figures, public communication experts, and other related practitioners to edify the public on the dangers and risks of transmitting the new coronavirus disease while burying the bodies of COVID-19 victims without adhering to strict protocols.

"Religious leaders, cultural figures, sociologists, and anthropologists must be involved in communicating with the public, so that no other incidents of snatching of dead bodies of the COVID-19 positive patients by their families occur," Jokowi emphasized.

"This is something we must prevent from recurring," he affirmed.

Jokowi also pressed for more intensively communicating with the public on the importance of testing individual specimen samples to prevent broader transmission of COVID-19, so all will comply with the need to undergo the rapid PCR test for diagnosis of the virus.

The president called to make an initial announcement for raising public awareness and fostering greater compliance to undergo the test.

The national COVID-19 task force has reported several incidents of families and friends forcibly snatching the bodies of dead patients from hospitals to be buried in accordance with their wishes despite the strict protocols in place concerning the burial of victims and suspected victims of COVID-19.

Recent incidents, which were feared to trigger further transmission of COVID-19, took place in Ambon, Maluku, Makassar, South Sulawesi; and Surabaya, East Java.

People in some regions, such as Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara, were also disinclined to undergo the test deemed necessary to record the number of cases and subsequent handling.

To this end, the president has instructed his ministers and the national COVID-19 task force to come up with a new breakthrough to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission.

"I urge that we attempt to not work linearly---that a breakthrough be achieved that is apparent to all people, and we hope that this breakthrough would really have an impact on accelerating the handling (of this crisis)," Jokowi noted.

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