An Indonesian minister is under fire after comparing the corona virus to rebellious women to alleviate public fears of easing COVID-19 restrictions across the Southeast Asian archipelago.
Women's groups and social media users cracked the obvious joke by Security Minister Mohammad Mahfud, who made the comments during an online speech at a local university earlier this week.
"Will we be entrenched forever? We can adapt to the situation while taking care of our health," said the minister on Tuesday.
"I recently got a meme from my colleague … that says: Corona is like your wife. At first you tried to control it, then you realize that you cannot. Then you learn to live with it."
Critics dismissed the statements as sexist, saying that this underscores Jakarta's weak response to the virus outbreak.
"This statement not only reflects the superficial power of the government to solve the Covid 19 pandemic problem, but also shows the sexist and misogynistic mindset of officials," said Dinda Nisa Yura, executive director of the Women's Solidarity Group, in a statement.
Mahfud's office did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.
Indonesia is deploying around 340,000 soldiers to curb widespread social detachment violations as coronavirus infections increase in the fourth largest country in the world.
The move comes when the government plans to reopen closed stores next week for fear of the collapse of Southeast Asia's largest economy.
Indonesia has confirmed around 24,000 cases of COVID-19 and 1,496 deaths, but the country with more than 260 million has some of the lowest test rates in the world.
Researchers estimate that the actual number of virus deaths is a multiple of the official number.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)