Coronavirus stigma runs deep and dangerous in Indonesia

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By Kate Lamb, Stanley Widianto5 Min Read(Reuters) – When Ari Harifin Hendriyawan’s mother tested positive for the coronavirus, their neighbours brought a hammer and nails and boarded up the lane.Ari Harifin, 23, stands at his family’s house amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Sukabumi, West Java Province, Indonesia, September 16, 2020. REUTERS/Sri Maryam NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVESFrom his home in the lush foothills of Indonesia’s West Java, the 23-year-old told Reuters the barricade appeared days after he received a negative test result and was at home self-isolating.“I was angry of course,” he said, “If I had not been restrained (by relatives), I don’t know what could’ve happened.”As the coronavirus rippled across the world’s fourth most populous country, it also carried a stigma that public health experts say has stopped people from getting tested in fear of being shunned, and complicated the response to the pandemic.For months Indonesia has struggled to stem a rise in transmission, with nearly 229,000 cases and a death toll of 9,100, the second highest in Asia after India. It also has one of the world’s lowest testing rates.Indonesia’s COVID-19 taskforce spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito said the stigma …

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