‘Ghosts’ scare Indonesians indoors and away from coronavirus


KEPUH, Indonesia (Reuters) – Kepuh village in Indonesia has been haunted by way of ghosts lately – mysterious white figures leaping out at unsuspecting passersby, then gliding off beneath a full-moon sky.

Volunteers Deri Setyawan, 25, and Septian Febriyanto, 26, sit down on a bench as they play the position of ‘pocong’, or referred to as ‘shroud ghost’, to make folks keep at house amid the unfold of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), outdoor the gate of Kepuh village in Sukoharjo regency, Central Java province, Indonesia, April 1, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer

The village on Java island has deployed a solid of “ghosts” to patrol the streets, hoping that age-old superstition will stay folks indoors and safely clear of the coronavirus.

“We would have liked to be other and create a deterrent impact as a result of ‘pocong’ are spooky and horrifying,” stated Anjar Pancaningtyas, head of a village early life staff that coordinated with the police at the unconventional initiative to advertise social distancing because the coronavirus spreads.

Referred to as “pocong”, the ghostly figures are usually wrapped in white shrouds with powdered faces and kohl-rimmed eyes. In Indonesian folklore they constitute the trapped souls of the lifeless.

But if they first began showing this month they’d the other impact. As an alternative of protecting folks in they purchased them out to catch a glimpse of the apparitions.

The organisers have since modified tack, launching marvel pocong patrols, with village volunteers enjoying the a part of the ghosts.

President Joko Widodo has resisted a countrywide lockdown to curb the coronavirus, as a substitute urging folks to practise social distancing and just right hygiene.

However with the easiest fee of coronavirus deaths in Asia after China, some communities, corresponding to Kepuh village, have made up our minds to take measures into their very own fingers, implementing the ghostly patrols, lockdowns and proscribing motion out and in in their village.

“Citizens nonetheless lack consciousness about find out how to curb the unfold of COVID-19 illness,” stated village head Priyadi, “They wish to are living like commonplace so it is vitally tough for them to observe the instruction to stick at house.”

There are actually 4,241 showed instances of the coronavirus in Indonesia, and 373 deaths, with fears the numbers will upward thrust considerably.

Researchers on the College of Indonesia estimate there might be 140,000 deaths and 1.five million instances by way of Would possibly with out harder curbs on motion.

When Reuters lately visited Kepuh village, the supernatural technique gave the look to be running, with villagers working off in fright when the ghosts materialized.

“For the reason that pocong gave the impression, folks and youngsters have no longer left their properties,” stated resident Karno Supadmo, “And folks won’t acquire or keep at the streets after night prayers.”

Writing by way of Kate Lamb; Enhancing by way of Robert Birsel

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