Katharina R. Lestari, Jakarta
Updated: July 14, 2021 07:48 AM GMT
Family members pray during the burial of a relative at Rorotan Cemetery, which is reserved for those who died of Covid-19, in Jakarta, Indonesia, on July 13. (Photo: AFP)
A doctor has been arrested in Indonesia after claiming that Covid-19 does not exist, that the pandemic was a big lie and that people’s deaths were the result of excessive anti-coronavirus medication.
Dr. Lois Owien, a graduate of the Christian University of Indonesia’s faculty of medicine, was arrested in Jakarta and later charged with spreading false information on July 12 and released on bail a day later.
She was arrested after appearing earlier this month on a television talk show in which she said many people had died after being given too much Covid-19 medication. She also denied Covid-19 existed on social media.
“Covid-19 is not a virus, nor is it transmissible,” she allegedly wrote in one tweet, adding that “things happen because of God’s will” and “the world is being controlled by demons.”
She also allegedly questioned how healthy, asymptomatic people can be declared sick “just because a test kit said so.”
“She has been named as a suspect for deliberately spreading false information to create chaos in society,” the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department, Commissioner General Agus Andrianto, said.
Her remarks were not based on data or research. They were just assumptions
The doctor could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty, he said.
Felix Gunawan, executive director of the Catholic Association of Indonesian Health Services, condemned Owien’s views.
“Her remarks were not based on data or research. They were just assumptions. As a doctor, she should not have said such things,” he told UCA News.
He said her remarks could damage government efforts to end the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Saying things like that can sow confusion among people,” Gunawan said.
As of July 13, Indonesia had recorded a total of 2,615,529 Covid-19 cases and 68,219 deaths.