KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 — An Indonesian man put his fellow villagers at risk of contracting Covid-19 after escaping quarantine because he wanted to infect others with the deadly virus.
The 45-year-old man who has been identified as Salamat Sianipar from North Sumatra’s Toba regency faced the wrath of residents who tried to stop him from flouting safety protocols, Detik News reported.
Indonesian news outlet Tribun Jateng published a video of the incident where a group of villagers can be seen chasing down Salamat with bamboo sticks.
On Twitter, the clip has been viewed 28,000 times.
Although initial reports claimed that Salamat was violently beaten by an angry mob, local officials later clarified that the villagers were in fact trying to hold down the Covid-positive man to avoid being infected.
The villagers used long bamboo sticks to aid with physical distancing as they were in the presence of an infected person.
*KEJADIAN MIRIS*— D Manafe (@dfrnm) July 24, 2021
Perkenalkan saya Jhosua. Bertempat tinggal di Depok, Jawa Barat.
Ini Tulang (Om) saya.
Nama : Salamat Sianipar
Umur : ≥ 45 Tahun
Alamat : Desa sianipar bulu silape kecamatan silaen. Tobasa. Sumatera Utara pic.twitter.com/UcS2lHlpcK
“It wasn’t violent intent, the villagers wanted to secure him. I see that the villagers actually care for SS,” Toba Regent Poltak Sitorus said, using Salamat’s initials.
Salamat’s wife Risma backed the authorities’ claim saying that her husband deliberately left quarantine to come home and it wasn’t the first time he breached isolation rules.
Risma revealed that Salamat tried to convince others he was Covid-negative by spitting on his hands and attempted to touch family members and random strangers on the street.
“On Thursday, at around 5pm, my husband went outside, spat on his hands, and approached people and tried to touch them while shouting that he does not have Covid-19,” Risma said.
"It turned out that his actions made the villagers angry, so using wood and bamboo they tried to secure him out of fear of contracting Covid-19.
“But the residents’ actions to secure Selamat Sianipar failed and my husband managed to escape into the forest,” said Risma.
The next day when he returned, residents managed to secure him with wooden and bamboo sticks and he was then taken to the Porsea Regional General Hospital.
However, he escaped again from the hospital at night.
A few days later on Saturday, the villagers successfully returned Salamat to the hospital after securing him using the same tactic.