The Jakarta Post
Health authorities in Central Java have forced two women to self-isolate after they had planned to visit shopping centers despite having tested positive for COVID-19.
The women, who are residents of Semarang and were only identified as F and L, reportedly had a conversation on WhatsApp, in which one of them allegedly prodded the other to spread the virus.
Screen captures of the alleged chat went viral on social media.
In the conversation, F reportedly convinced L that it was okay to travel without regard for health protocol. She said one of her neighbors who had also contracted the virus had been going out as well.
Semarang Health Agency head Abdul Hakam said the local COVID-19 task force had examined the two residents.
At around 5 p.m. they had been brought by ambulance to the official residence of the Mayor, Abdul told tribunnews.com on Saturday.
The residence is currently being used as an isolation facility.
Hakam said the Karanganyar Community Health Center (Puskesmas) had traced the contacts of F and L as well as their families, and some of their family members subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus.
However, they were allowed to undergo self-isolation with close monitoring by the authorities as they showed only mild symptoms.
L and her two children were now in isolation at the mayoral residence, Hakam said, while F was in self-isolation at home as she had to take care of her mother, who had also been infected with the virus and had just returned from the hospital.
“F is the only child, so she doesn’t have any siblings to take care of her mother,” Hakam said.
Moreover, he said, the task force was also considering the psychological health of F’s mother, whose husband had died recently.
Semarang Mayor Hendrar Prihadi said he had coordinated with the Semarang Health Agency and other stakeholders in handling the case.
“This is just a misunderstanding between neighbors whose conversation was spread through [WhatsApp]," Hendrar said, as he called on the public not to worry about this incident.
In an interview with Kompas TV, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo admitted that many residents still had poor understanding of COVID-19, while some were upset or confused about the situation.
“If you witness such cases, report them to the nearest local officials or contact me directly through social media,” Ganjar said.
According to a regional regulation on the management of infectious diseases, Ganjar said, health protocol violators could be charged with six years of imprisonment or a fine of Rp 50 million (US$3,380). (syk)