Inside the Kepuh village in Indonesia, local authorities have unleashed “ghosts” onto the streets in order to scare people into staying indoors. The modus operandi of the ghosts is to jump out at unsuspecting passersby in the night time when they are found violating safety procedures.

A youth group is behind the initiative, in cahoots with local police . The head of the group commented on this unusual but effective method to enforce social distancing saying, “We wanted to be different and create a deterrent effect.”

Known as “pocong”, the ghost like figures are wrapped in white shrouds with powdered faces and kohl-rimmed eyes. According to Indonesian folklore they represent the trapped souls of the dead. 

In the absence of a lockdown

With the absence of a full-fledged lockdown, this group found it necessary to come up with other tactics to make sure that people stayed home and practiced social distancing. In the beginning of this venture, the ghosts had the opposite effect. People went out in order witness the ghosts clad in white, however things took a spookier turn as the ghosts began to patrol with authorities.

Such strategies have become necessary in countries like Indonesia where the number of cases have spiked to over 4000 with over 300 deaths. If the numbers don’t scare locals, the ghosts most certainly do. Residents have reported, “since pocong (the ghost) appeared, parents and children have not left their homes.”

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