‘Ghosts’ Keep Frightened Indonesians Inside, Away from Coronavirus
People living in Indonesia's Kepuh village have recently had some frightening experiences. Mysterious white beings jump out at unsuspecting people on the street. They disappear just as quickly as they appear.
The village on Java island has deployed a group of "ghosts" to patrol, or walk around, the streets. Village leaders hope the ghosts will frighten people enough to keep them inside their homes and safely away from the new coronavirus.
"We wanted to be different and create a deterrent effect," said Anjar Pancaningtyas. He is head of a village youth group that worked with the police on the unusual way of urging social distancing.
Known as "pocong," the ghostly beings usually wear white cloth. Their faces are nearly white, except for a dark substance around their eyes. In Indonesian stories, they represent the trapped souls of the dead.
When the ghosts first started appearing this month, they had the opposite effect of what local leaders had hoped for. Instead of keeping people inside, they brought them outside. Locals hoped to see the pocong for themselves.
The organizers have since changed their methods. They have instead launched surprise pocong patrols, with village volunteers playing the part of the ghosts.
President Joko Widodo has resisted declaring a national lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus. He has instead urged people to take part in social distancing and to wash their hands and keep clean.
But some communities have decided to take their own measures. They have put restrictions on people's movements, ordered lockdowns and, in Kepuh's case, used ghosts to frighten people back into their homes.
"Residents still lack awareness about how to curb the spread of COVID-19 disease," said Kepuh village head Priyadi. "They want to live like normal so it is very difficult for them to follow the instruction to stay at home."
There are now over 4,200 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Indonesia, and over 370 deaths. Observers fear those numbers will rise sharply.
Researchers at the University of Indonesia estimate there could be 140,000 deaths and 1.5 million cases by May without stronger restrictions on movement.
When Reuters reporters recently visited Kepuh village, the supernatural plan seemed to be working. Villagers would run away in fear when the ghosts appeared in front of them.
"Since the pocong appeared, parents and children have not left their homes," said Kepuh local Karno Supadmo. "And people will not gather or stay on the streets after evening prayers," he added.
I'm Ashley Thompson.
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5.Villagers would run away in fear when the ghosts appeared in front of them.
run away 逃跑
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6.Villagers would run away in fear when the ghosts appeared in front of them.
in front of 在...前面
We dried our clothes in front of the fire.
We all got out our own sewing and sat in front of the log fire.
居住在印度尼西亚科布村（Kepuh）的人们最近经历了一些可怕的事情 。神秘的白色幽灵会突然现身街头，吓唬路人 。他们来无影去无踪 。
这个位于爪哇岛上的村庄派了一群“幽灵”在街道上巡逻，或四处盯梢 。村里的领导希望这些幽灵能吓住人们，让他们呆在家里，远离新型冠状病毒 。
“我们想另辟蹊径，制造出一种威慑性效果，”安贾尔·潘卡宁提亚斯（Anjar Pancaningtyas）说道 。他是一个农村青年组织的负责人，该组织与警方合作，以一种独特的方式敦促人们保持社交距离 。”
这些被称为“包头僵尸(pocong)”的幽灵通常身裹白布 。他们的脸几乎惨白，只有眼睛周围有一圈黑色物质 。在印尼的传说中，他们代表被困的死者的灵魂 。
本月初，当这些“幽灵”现身街头时，收到的效果跟当地领导人的期望正好相反 。此举并没有把村民吓得不敢出门，反而吸引他们到户外围观 。当地人希望一睹“包头僵尸”的真容 。
组织者不得不改变行动方式 。他们派出了突袭版“包头僵尸”巡逻队，由村里的志愿者担任鬼魂的角色 。
印尼总统佐科·维多多(Joko Widodo)拒绝宣布全国封锁，以减缓这种冠状病毒的蔓延 。相反，他敦促人们参加社交活动，勤洗手并保持清洁 。
但是一些社区已经决定自己采取措施 。他们限制人们的活动，下令封锁区域，例如科布村，他们还发动“幽灵”来恐吓人们，让村民闭门不出 。
科布村的村长Priyadi表示：“居民们仍然缺乏关于如何控制新型冠状病毒肺炎传播的意识 。”“他们想正常地生活，所以很难遵从指示呆在家里 。”
目前，印尼已有超过4200例冠状病毒确诊病例，370多人死亡 。观察人士担心，这些数据还将大幅上升 。
当路透社记者最近访问科布村时，这个超自然的计划似乎正在起作用 。当“幽灵”出现在村民面前时，他们会害怕地跑开 。
科布村的居民Karno Supadmo表示：“自从包头僵尸出现以来，父母和孩子都没有离开过家门半步 。”他还表示：“晚上的祈祷活动结束后，人们不会在街上聚集或停留 。”