Indonesia’s COVID-19 surge is on the edge of a “catastrophe” as the more infectious Delta variant dominates transmission and chokes hospitals in Southeast Asia’s worst epidemic, the Red Cross said on Tuesday (June 29).
Indonesia has reported record daily COVID-19 infections of more than 20,000 in recent days, in a new wave of infections fuelled by the emergence of highly transmissible virus variants and increased mobility after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Hospitals in several designated “red zone” areas have reported overcapacity, including the capital Jakarta, with its isolation beds 93% occupied as of Sunday (June 27).
A nurse working in a state-run hospital in north Jakarta said there were COVID patients who died while waiting for a hospital bed.
Jan Gelfand, head of the Indonesian delegation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said the Delta variant was driving Indonesia closer to “a COVID-19 catastrophe.”
Calls have grown from health workers for tighter restrictions as infections surge to unprecedented levels.
Indonesia’s health minister is leading a push for stricter controls, sources familiar with government discussions have told Reuters.
Indonesia is banking on mass vaccinations to get on top of the virus, but only 13.3 million of the 181.5 million targeted for inoculation have received the required two doses.
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