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A person dressed as a pocong ghost in Bandung, Indonesia
Photograph: Flickr/Adhietya Saputra

People have dressed up as ghosts to enforce lockdown in Indonesia

By
James Manning
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As social-distancing rules spread around the world, not everyone is following them to the letter. Many governments have introduced fines and other measures to enforce the WHO’s public health guidelines. But a few have been a little more creative, including a local youth group in Central Java, Indonesia. Working with local police, volunteers in the village of Kepuh have been trying to scare people into staying at home – by dressing up as ghosts.

Earlier this month, volunteers were reportedly deployed in Kepuh dressed as pocong: folkloric figures that represent dead souls trapped in shrouds. According to Reuters, the ghostly white figures were sent into the streets with the aim of deterring villagers – especially children – from hanging around outside after dark. (Despite mounting deaths in the country, Indonesia only introduced lockdown measures this week.)

At first, the spooky new tactics didn’t work so well: instead of staying at home, local residents are said to have come out specifically to see the mysterious pocong patrols.

But apparently the measures have since become more effective at stopping people going out and about. ‘Since the pocong appeared, parents and children have not left their homes,’ said one local resident. So if this one village is anything to go by, ghost cops could be just the thing to keep us all safe right now.

More weirdness from our strange times:

People in Iceland are being encouraged to hug trees during lockdown

Germans are using fishing rods to lift baguettes over the French border

Someone has designed glass boxes for socially-distanced sunbathing

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