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Bicycle-riding volunteers deliver medicines in Indonesia's Semarang

Bicycle-riding volunteers deliver medicines in Indonesia's Semarang

Arrahman Surya Atmaja hangs a delivery bag on the fence of a house of a person self-isolating from COVID-19 in Semarang, Central Java province, Indonesia, Jul 26, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Budi Purwanto)

SEMARANG: Pedalling through the Indonesian city of Semarang, Arrahman Surya Atmaja stops at a pharmacy to pick up some vitamins before hitting the road again to deliver them to a person isolating at home.

The 35-year-old is part of a small group of volunteer cyclists running errands for people in the city of 3 million, which along with the rest of the country, has been hit hard by the pandemic.

"I think about how difficult it would be to be in self-isolation or have COVID-19, so hopefully with this, we can help people who are," said Arrahman, who started the service in April.

READ: Indonesian volunteers bring food to COVID-19 patients stuck at home

Indonesia has become Asia's COVID-19 epicentre with record infections and deaths this month. Total infections have surpassed 3.2 million, including almost 87,000 deaths.

Arrahman Surya Atmaja rides a bicycle through a road on a delivery from a pharmacy to a person self-isolating from COVID-19 in Semarang, Central Java province, Indonesia, Jul 26, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Budi Purwanto)

In Semarang alone, officials have reported around 78,000 cases and more than 5,600 deaths.

Arrahman said delivering medicine or vitamins were the most common requests, which he picks up via WhatsApp or Instagram.

READ: Volunteer ambulance drivers help take the strain on Indonesia's COVID frontline

Once though, he said, he ended up unknowingly making a delivery to a hospital ICU ward, a situation he tries to avoid.

"I got scared, but my feelings went away when I remembered I only want to help," he said. The cyclists try to ensure deliveries are contactless.

Arrahman and the other volunteers often have to lift their bikes over barricades blocking off "red zones" or areas of high infection.

"Maybe because we are helping the community, it will somehow boost our immunity, maybe it's like that," he joked.

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Source: Reuters/dv

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