Baskara shared the message, written in Bahasa Indonesia, on Instagram last night (July 1). In the five-panel note, he called on Indonesians to take the pandemic seriously and only leave home for urgent and essential purposes.
In the note, Baskara revealed that a barber named Ibel, whom his family used to patronise, had recently contracted COVID and passed away earlier this week. Ibel, who was four days into contracting the disease when Baskara’s family found out, had difficulty securing a hospital bed. According to Baskara, Ibel had said in Instagram Story posts before his death that he had become so physically weak that he could not get up to receive a food delivery at his bedroom door.
“Once we found an available hospital bed, as it turned out, there was no ambulance. We were losing more time,” Baskara wrote. “At last, he was picked up by the hospital. Unfortunately, it was too late, and Ibel passed away shortly after.”
Baskara reflected on the staggering number of Indonesians who have tested positive for the coronavirus and are currently battling the disease – both with and without access to healthcare.
“There have been lots of situations where access to a medical facility is available, but the patients are beyond help because the facility is no longer available and medical personnel are exhausted,” he wrote.
Indonesia recorded 24,836 new infections and 504 deaths yesterday (July 1), attributed to the highly transmissible Delta variant, according to Reuters. Emergency tents in Jakarta – initially set up to accommodate new patients in place of limited hospital beds – are struggling with the rising number of cases, The Straits Times reported on Wednesday (June 30).
Baskara also pleaded with his followers to be mindful of their activities and social media posts as the pandemic continues to aggressively spread. “Yes, our government’s policy is a mess. However, we all must admit that we’re all responsible for this dreadful situation as well, including me,” he wrote.
“Even if we go outside for work and interact with people, I don’t think it’s wise to post Instagram Stories in which we are outside and with people, because that would indirectly create an illusion for others to think that leaving our house is fine.”
“Hell, maybe we need to start giving social punishment for people who go out for basically nothing important,” he emphasised in English. “We need to start thinking that going out with friends at a time like this is not okay.”
Baskara had previously expressed frustration at Indonesian influencers who held regular social gatherings despite the widening spread of the virus.
My initial reaction seeing influencers on Instagram claiming they don’t know how they got the virus when their stories from the past week were full of public gatherings and non-essential leisure activities pic.twitter.com/B8s8d1pzhc
— Baskara Putra / Hindia (@wordfangs) June 23, 2021
Indonesia is set to undergo tough social restrictions from July 3 to 20, with the islands of Java and Bali preparing for emergency lockdown, per Channel NewsAsia.
“With cooperation from all of us and the grace of God, I’m certain that we can suppress COVID-19 transmission and restore people’s lives quickly,” Indonesian president Joko Widodo said.
Additional reporting by Felix Martua