Jakarta – A 20-year-old woman identified as AR was arrested and named a suspect on Wednesday after pulling a "prank" on the medical workers of two hospitals in Bone regency, South Sulawesi, by pretending to have been infected by COVID-19.
Bone Police Criminal Unit chief Adj. Comr. Mohammad Pahrun said AR and three friends had been drinking since 2 a.m. on Friday at a rooming house in West Taneteriattang district when AR began convulsing and collapsed.
Her friends rushed her to the Watampone community health center (Puskesmas) and she was subsequently referred to Hapsah Hospital.
AR regained consciousness after receiving treatment at the hospital and told medical workers that she had had contact with her COVID-19-positive grandfather in Papua. Based on her claim, AR was taken to the COVID-19 Tenriawaru hospital and placed in an isolation room in accordance with COVID-19 protocols.
However, the hospital's medical workers reportedly noticed that AR was not showing symptoms of the disease and realized that she was under the influence of alcohol. They came to the conclusion that she might have faked her seizure.
"It was only after she was sent home by the medical workers that she yelled 'I fooled you' from inside her car," Pahrun said as quoted by kompas.com.
AR was charged under Article 14 of Law No. 1/1946 on misinformation, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
The three friends, ages 19, 21 and 22, were also apprehended but only questioned as witnesses. They returned home after the questioning, Pahrun added.
He lambasted AR and the alleged prank, calling it irresponsible, especially at the time of a pandemic. "Don't play around. We should have sympathy for medical workers," he said.
YouTuber Ferdian Paleka recently triggered public outcry after uploading a video on the video-sharing platform of him and his friends handing out fake staple food donations in the form of boxes containing garbage to transwomen in Bandung, West Java.
Ferdian has been arrested by West Java Police and charged under the Electronic Information Law (ITE) Law, which carries a maximum sentence of 12 years imprisonment. (trn)