The offenders were caught without masks in a village in the Cerme District in the East Java province of Indonesia and were ordered by a local leader named Suyono, whom the outlet identifies as the “Cerme sub-district head,” to dig the graves for COVID-19 victims at the Ngabetan Village Public Cemetery, according to a translation of Tribunnews.com.
The Asian country is seeing a surge in COVID-19 transmissions. As of Monday morning, Indonesia had reported at least 248,852 positive COVID-19 cases and 9,677 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.
“There are only three available gravediggers at the moment, so I thought I might as well put these people to work with them,” Suyono told Tribun News, according to a translation by USA Today. “Hopefully, this can create a deterrent effect against violations.”
USA Today’s translation further describes how two people were assigned to each plot – with one person responsible for digging the grave and the other tasked with installing wooden planks.
They were barred from touching the victims’ bodies and partaking in any ceremonies.