Delta variant outbreak raises fears among Filipinos in Indonesia

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 16 2021 12:40 PM

Delta variant outbreak raises fears among Filipinos in Indonesia 1
Ardi Novriansyah, 41, a volunteer undertaker wears personal protective equipment as he takes a short-break while carrying the coffin of 64-year-old Yoyoh Sa'diah who passed away due to complications related to COVID-19 while isolating at her home in Bogor, West Java province, Indonesia, July 8, 2021. Willy Kurniawan, Reuters

MANILA - An overseas Filipino worker in Indonesia is holing up in a condominium, as the Southeast Asian nation is battling surging infections fueled by the highly infectious Delta variant.

Dwight Balmaceda, who works as an engineer and contract manager in capital Jakarta, said he couldn't afford to get sick as hospitals there were flooded with coronavirus patients. 

"Ayaw kong lumabas kasi nakakatakot 'Yung mga kasamahan ko sa condominium, baka hindi mo alam may impeksiyon. So, nagpapa-deliver lang ako ng pagkain," he told Teleradyo's "Sakto".

(I don't go out because it's scary. Those I live with in the condominium could be infected. So, I have food delivered to my place.)

Indonesia on Thursday tallied a record 56,757 daily infections, overtaking India as Asia's COVID-19 epicenter. It has expanded nationwide restrictions to stop the transmission of Delta variant.

Balmaceda said he was still taking precautions even though he had been vaccinated against the respiratory disease. His company had also ordered them to work from home.

"Marami na rin sa mga Pilipino ang nabakunahan dito pero 'yun nga, konting ingat pa rin kasi kahit na naka-dalawa ng bakuna, nagkaka-COVID pa rin dito sa Jakarta," he said.

(Many Filipinos here have been vaccinated but I'm still careful because even those who received the two-dose regimen, they still get COVID in Jakarta.) 

The travel in May during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr was believed to have driven the surge.

As he was allowed to work from home, Balmaceda said he was supposed to return to the Philippines this month but it was shelved due to the travel ban.

The Philippine government has added Indonesia to a travel ban from countries that have detected the more contagious Delta variant. The restrictions is extended until July 31. 

To date, there are 13 Filipinos hospitalized in Indonesia due to COVID-19, according to the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta.

The embassy also recorded a total of 10 fatalities among Filipino nationals since the start of the pandemic, of which 5 died this month as spread of virus accelerated.

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