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Covid-19 rages across Indo-Pacific despite fightback from South Korea

Covid-19 sees a resurgence across Asia (Photo: IANS)

The Indo-Pacific region continues to be gripped by resurgent Covid-19, with Indonesia and Myanmar bearing the brunt.

Indonesia is reporting dozens of deaths due to the shortage of oxygen and other medical supplies in hospitals. Prices have skyrocketed as people are trying to procure medical cylinders by themselves.

The government has asked the gas industry to switch over to producing medical oxygen. The government is also planning to import oxygen from neighbouring Singapore, The Independent newspaper is reporting.

On Saturday, the nation reported 27,913 new infections–a daily record. Indonesia, which is the fourth most-populous country in the world has seen 2.3 million positive cases till now, the highest in the region, and more than 60,000 deaths.

Myanmar, which is suffering the pangs of a military coup, is witnessing a rise in infections as the junta finds strong opposition to its rule. With regular protests against the deposition of popular leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the medical fraternity joining the protestors, Covid-19 spread easily.

Myanmar, India's eastern neighbour, had 4,320 new cases and reported 64 deaths—which is the highest since the coup. Now the junta has locked down a large number of downs and imposed "stay-at-home" orders.

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Malaysia, too is seeing the highest count of Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began to spread from China in late 2019. On Thursday, the country also witnessed its highest daily death rate at 135 for a single day as it reported 8,868 new infections.

Besides, Australia too has clamped down heavily on the rising number of cases as the Delta varient is seen spreading in Sydney. The country has extended the lockdown in Sydney till July 16.

The country reported a weekly average of 37 cases. Australia has reported 30, 905 cases with 910 deaths till now.

NHK world reported Prime Minister Scott Morrison as saying that he understands that people are tired and frustrated. He said: "(Australians) just got to push through".

Under the new curbs, only one person in a family can go out to buy groceries each day. People can only have one person per week from another household.

Within the Indo-Pacific region, the numbers from South Korea are slightly better. It had 1,324 cases on Saturday which was slightly lower from 1,378 reported a day earlier. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) says that infection numbers dip on the weekends due to decreased testing.

Due to the surge, South Korea has imposed strict distancing in capital Seoul and neighbouring regions. The country has seen a total of 168,046 infections with 2,043 deaths.

Read More: Migrants suffer as Myanmar-Thailand border becomes Covid hotbed