At least 15 people have been infected with COVID-19 in Indonesia after they ignored the health authority’s advice and opened the coffin of a loved one to carry out a cleansing ritual.
The incident took place in the village of Jati in the regency of Sidoarjo in the Indonesian province of East Java after the COVID-19 victim died in hospital two weeks ago.
Nur Ahmad Syaifudin, the acting regent of Sidoarjo, said that the patient’s body was wrapped in plastic and placed in a wooden coffin before being handed over to loved ones.
According to local media, friends and family carried out a normal funeral procession without observing COVID-19 protocols.
He added: “The relatives and neighbours of the deceased opened the plastic wrap on the deceased body and even bathed the body. That is so careless.”
The incident prompted the region’s virus task force to carry out contact tracing in the village where they found that at least 15 residents have been infected with COVID-19.
Meanwhile, dozens of other patients have been listed as patients under surveillance (PDP), according to local media.
According to Syaifudin, the satellite regency of Sidoarjo saw 45 new cases on 16th May, the highest daily increase since the pandemic began.
He confirmed that the village has been partially closed to prevent further spread.
Syaifudin told local media: “We have strictly limited access from and to the village. We have also ordered the mosque there not to conduct mass prayers.”
Islamic religious law request that a body be buried as soon as possible, proceeded by a simple ritual in which the body is bathed before being put in a shroud.
Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population with approximately 225 million Muslims making up 87 per cent of the population.
According to reports, Sidoarjo is the second-hardest-hit region in East Java after Surabaya with 285 cases and 31 fatalities.
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