In East Jakarta, the authorities punished several people with time in a coffin.
“The coffin is a symbol to remind people not to underestimate the coronavirus,” said Budhy Novian, head of East Jakarta’s public order agency. “It’s our effort to convey the message to the people: The Covid-19 number is high and it causes death.”
But officials halted the practice after critics pointed out that onlookers were violating social distancing rules by crowding around to gawk and take photos.
Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, passed 200,000 reported cases on Tuesday. New cases have been averaging more than 3,000 a day for two weeks, according to a New York Times database, and the death toll of 8,230 is the highest in East Asia.
Indonesia has one of the lowest rates of testing in the world, and its positivity rate is nearly 14 percent, slightly higher than Sweden’s and well above the 5 percent that the World Health Organization has given as a rough benchmark for relaxing social distancing measures. (A rising positivity rate can point to an uncontrolled outbreak; it can also indicate that not enough testing is occurring.)
Some independent experts suspect that Indonesia’s actual number of cases is many times higher than 200,000.
In Jakarta, the capital, officials erected a coffin-themed monument last week to highlight the rising death toll and remind people to follow coronavirus protocols.
Flouting the requirement to wear a mask in public in Jakarta is punishable by a fine of up to $67 for repeat offenders, a substantial sum for many residents.
Reporting was contributed by Aurora Almendral, Troy Closson, Emily Cochrane, Michael Gold, Maggie Haberman, Jason Horowitz, Mike Ives, Patrick Kingsley, Dan Levin, Jesse McKinley, Constant Méheut, Claire Moses, Richard C. Paddock, Alan Rappeport, Simon Romero, Christopher F. Schuetze, Natasha Singer, Karan Deep Singh, Kaly Soto, Megan Specia, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Muktita Suhartono, Katie Thomas, Katherine J. Wu and Elaine Yu.