Indonesia braces for worst-case coronavirus scenario

Reuters

Posted at Jul 06 2021 04:25 PM

Indonesia braces for worst-case coronavirus scenario 1
A man wearing a protective mask queues to refill oxygen tanks as Indonesia experiences an oxygen supply shortage amid a surge of COVID-19 cases, at a filling station in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 5, 2021. Willy Kurniawan, Reuters

JAKARTA - Indonesia has prepared backup medical facilities for a worst-case scenario where daily coronavirus infections reach 40,000 to 50,000, a senior official said on Tuesday, as the country battles its fastest-spreading outbreak so far.

Indonesia has one of Asia's worst COVID-19 epidemics, exacerbated by the presence of the highly infectious Delta variant, with hospitals overstretched, oxygen supply issues and a growing numbers of sick unable to receive medical attention.

Southeast Asia's largest and most populous country has seen record daily increase in coronavirus infections in 10 of the past 15 days, with the death toll passing 500 on several days. Its vaccination rate remains low.

Senior Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said the government has plans to increase oxygen supplies and has accommodation infrastructure, including disused buildings, which can be converted into isolation facilities in the worst-case scenario.

Indonesia recorded nearly 30,000 new cases on Monday, among 2.3 million overall.

"The number can go up to 40,000 or more, that's why we have prepared scenarios - when it comes to medications, oxygen, and also hospitals," Luhut said, adding that help had been sought from countries like China and Singapore.

Health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said that the government was adding nearly 8,000 new beds within the Greater Jakarta area, and was closely watching Sumatra and Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo island, amid a rise in cases of the Delta variant first detected in India.

Indonesia on Saturday imposed tighter curbs on movement, office work, dining and air travel on Java and Bali islands and on Tuesday tightened measures in 20 other provinces.

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