The coronavirus has gotten the entire world on some kind of lockdown, and some countries are doing innovative – if not hilarious – things to keep people in their homes.
Indonesia: Pocong Patrol
Kepuh village, on a Javanese island in Indonesia, has deployed a host of “ghosts” to patrol the streets, hoping that age-old supersition will keep villagers indoors.
These “pocong” are ghostly figures typically sporting kohl-rimmed eyes and powdered faces, wrapped white cloth, and according to Indonesian folklore, they represent the trapped souls of the dead.
In the beginning, their appearances only managed to ignite the locals’ curiosity, bringing them out of their homes to catch a glimpse of these apparitions. Since then, the organisers have decided to launch surprise pocong patrols – the roles are undertaken by local villagers – in order to jump on unsuspecting passers-by before slinking off.
Philippines: Shoot ’em Dead
With a rapidly rising number of cases in the country, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has issued perhaps the toughest scare tactic against lockdown violators.
In a televised address, Duterte declared: “My orders to the police and military … if there is trouble and there’s an occasion that they fight back and your lives are in danger, shoot them dead.”
As if that’s not clear enough, he reiterated: “Is that understood? Dead. Instead of causing trouble, I will bury you.”
India: Cosplay Tactics
India too is having to deal with loiterers, so they’re dealing with public messaging in a different way: through wacky costumes.
In the district of Indore, volunteers dressed as ghosts – all-black outfits printed with a skeleton – try to “scare” those who loiter on the roads around slums and crowded areas.
Meanwhile in New Delhi, police donned protective suits and helmets ridiculously shaped like a coronavirus. These “coronavirus zombies” were seen trying to “scare” the public in order to convince people to social distance.
In Tamil Nadu, frustrated authorities have taken one step further to punish those flouting lockdown protocols – those found not complying with the law were thrown into an ambulance and locked in with a fake Covid-19 patient who is coughing and hacking to try and scare them. According to the people who set it up, violators were petrified to get near the fake patient.
Sweden: Manure madness
To deter its 30,000 residents in the university town of Lund in Sweden from gathering en masse to celebrate Walpurgis Night – usually celebrated at the end of April – officials have dumped a tonne of chicken manure in its central park.
The idea is not only to make it stinky enough to deter people to linger and drink at the park, but also to fertilise the lawns – a two for one, if you will.
When words fail, actions often speak louder. Perhaps we can try and convince some rulebreakers to be more aware of our situation by using some of these methods?