Jakarta – An Indonesian doctor who appeared on podcasts and a television talk show to state that Covid-19 is a lie and that healthy people died from "excessive Covid medication" has been arrested, police said on Monday.
Dr. Lois Owien said on several occasions that many people have died after being given various drugs against Covid-19, which she also doubted ever existed.
"It's called drug-drug interactions. If you check hospital data, [Covid patients] are given more than six medications," she said in a television talk show hosted by celebrity lawyer Hotman Paris earlier this month.
She went to social media to actively assert her belief that there is no such thing as the Covid-19 pandemic and to oppose mask-wearing advices despite thousands of new cases and hundreds of Covid-related deaths being reported on a daily basis across the country.
"Covid-19 is not a virus, nor is transmissible," she tweeted on Friday.
She wrote there was no equal opponent to debate her logic here and that she would only take a challenge from "professors of an international caliber".
She went further by tweeting the current Covid lockdown across Java and Bali was a policy formulated by "Satan-worshipping officials".
Her Twitter profile reads "Covid-19 is not coronavirus".
On a widely circulated podcast interview, she said: "No medical school has ever taught about using a testing kit as a major diagnostic tool, any patient must first be asked about symptoms. But now healthy, asymptomatic people are declared sick just because the kit says so."
National Police spokesman Chief Comr. Ahmad Ramadhan said Lois was arrested a day earlier for "spreading hoaxes" and alleged breaches of the Law on Infectious Disease Outbreak.
"She has deliberately and knowingly spread hoaxes on various social media platforms that could potentially trigger public disorder and hamper Covid-19 mitigation efforts," the officer said in a news conference.
The suspect is detained at the Jakarta Police headquarters, he added.
Lois, who grew up in Tarakan, East Kalimantan, graduated from Christian University of Indonesia's faculty of medicine in Jakarta in 2004 and continued her study in Malaysia specializing in anti-aging hormone medicine, according to her social media profile.
The lesser-known doctor gained popularity after appearing on the Hotman Paris show and more and more people have since come to her social media accounts or watched her interviews on podcasts.
Local media reports said she was no longer registered with the Indonesian Doctors Council since 2017, meaning that she couldn't run a clinic.
The Indonesian Doctors Association, or IDI, warned against Lois' baseless remarks and told the public to rely on science-based advices when it comes to Covid-19.
"Her opinions are both false and baseless. We must trust doctors who really take care of us when we get sick," said Pukovisa Prawiroharjo, the chairman of IDI's ethic board.
He added that qualified doctors across the globe including those of the World Health Organization have contrasting opinions from everything Lois has said about Covid-19.
He said the ethic board is considering a hearing against Lois.