The Jakarta Post
COVID-19 task force officials attempting to carry out a health protocol check were driven out of a birdsong contest at the National Bird’s Breeders Association (APBN) in Tuntungan district, Medan, North Sumatra, on Sunday.
At that time, one of the officials used a megaphone to urge participants and visitors to comply with health regulations.
However, they responded by booing at the officials and chasing them away.
Acting Medan Mayor Arief Sudarto Trinugroho explained that the task force had visited the location after receiving a report from residents regarding the birdsong contest, which was taking place on the APBN field.
He regretted the contest participants’ and visitors’ behavior and their refusal to follow the COVID-19 task force’s warnings regarding health protocols. He added that such behavior should not be repeated a the officials were only trying to uphold regulations.
“We urge [residents] not to do that again. Anyone who disobeys health protocols will be punished. That will be our final measure,” Arief said on Monday.
Meanwhile, Medan Tuntungan district head Topan Ginting confirmed the incident, adding that no one had been injured.
“The officers left the location because of the public’s reaction. They were not harmed,” he said.
Only last week, COVID-19 task force officials in North Sumatra were attacked by an unidentified mob during a raid at what was suspected to be a gambling den on Jl. Veteran Medan Marelan.
Two officers suffered head injuries, while three cars were damaged in the skirmish.
North Sumatra Governor Edy Rahmayadi said the incident had been reported to the police, who had started the legal process. He added that the gambling den should be closed in addition to the attackers receiving their legal punishment.
“I saw the location and found illegal activities, like gambling, taking place in the area. I found a piece of togel [illegal lottery] paper there,” Edy said.
Despite local government’s efforts to intensify health protocol campaigns, an online survey by Statistics Indonesia (BPS) from Sept. 7 to 14 involving 90,967 respondents across the archipelago revealed that the rate of public compliance with mask-wearing had increased, but compliance with hand-washing and physical-distancing rules had somewhat declined.
In an attempt to improve the public’s discipline over health protocols, many regional administrations are getting creative in devising sanctions for those who fail to abide by them, from pulling weeds at local parks to digging graves. (apg/dpk)
Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.