Eight people in Indonesia were ordered to dig graves for coronavirus victims after they were caught leaving their homes without a face mask, according to reports.

Officials in east Java said the order would act as a “deterrent” for those who violate the Covid-19 guidelines.

They sanctioned the people who were caught leaving their homes without face coverings and told them to dig graves at a public cemetery in Ngabetan village.

Cerme district head Suyono told Tribun News: “There are only three available grave diggers at the moment, so I thought I might as well put these people to work for them.

“Hopefully this can create a deterrent effect against violations.”

They were reportedly told to dig the graves in groups of two but were not ordered to participate in the funeral services.

It comes after Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan announced new restrictions that will last until September 27 to combat an outbreak which he called an emergency situation.

In the Indonesian capital Jakarta, main streets were less crowded at the start of the two weeks of social restrictions to curb a rise in infections that has pushed its critical-care hospital capacity to unsafe levels.

Medical facilities are filling with sick patients. Seven of 67 Covid-19 referral hospitals in Jakarta are 100 per cent occupied, while 46 are more than 60 per cent occupied.

Indonesia’s virus task force said more than 54,000 of the nation’s 218,000 cases of Covid-19 are in Jakarta. The city has recorded 1,391 deaths among the nation’s overall toll of 8,723.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.