Controversial COVID-19 Advice in Indonesia

Indonesian officials made headlines after issuing controversial advice, including the Agriculture Minister who recommended wearing a eucalyptus necklace for 30 minutes to help get rid of the coronavirus. He later backtracked, saying the product, which it was developing, was mainly for aromatherapy.

An official on the island of Lombok also ordered female civil servants to wear a face veil, or niqab, to protect against COVID-19. This prompted concerns authorities were trying to push stricter religious dress codes under the guise of safety precautions. Women’s advocates noting a face veil is too loose to afford proper protection.

Indonesia has a majority Muslim population but most women only wear a headscarf that does not cover the face.

The virus has spread to all 34 provinces, with East Java and the capital Jakarta worst hit. Last weekend, 1,280 cadets and staff tested positive at a military academy in West Java, the most populous province.

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