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Indonesia grapples with coronavirus as the delta strain surges

Indonesia is imposing curbs on gatherings (Photo: IANS)

Indonesia is on the doorstep of a coronavirus crisis as cases double in just two days. The surge has led to a shortage of hospital beds, oxygen and ventilators.

Health workers who had been fully vaccinated with the Chinese Sinovac vaccine are reportedly getting infected with the virus, impacting the healthcare system already under pressure. Between March and June this year, nearly 1,031 medical workers died from covid-19 in the country.

Indonesia also reported its highest daily death numbers at 1,040 with the overall death toll crossing 56,000.

It reported its highest-ever tally of 34,000 infections on Wednesday as the virus spread to all 34 provinces. The Jakarta Post reported that by Thursday the toll had gone up to 38,391. The country has imposed regulations as the second wave of the pandemic turns deadly. It has deployed additional security personnel as well as stopped all public activities after 5 pm.

The Guardian quoted Senior Minister Luhut Pandjaitan saying earlier this week that he feared daily cases could reach as high as 70,000. The government said it was sourcing supplies of oxygen from Singapore to ease shortages.

“At worst, it [could reach] 60,000 to 70,000 cases per day, but I hope that doesn’t happen because our friends from police, military have done quite a good insulation,” Luhut told The Guardian.

With long queues outside the hospitals, many patients are reportedly going back.

The Indonesian government has begun to prepare itself for the worst. It is planning to import oxygen from Singapore. It has begun to dig up graves using excavators as the death toll mounts.

The government is particularly trying to ensure that people limit their travel. The government has also said that if the current restrictions do not work, it will impose emergency measures to contain the virus. 

Earlier this month Indonesia had begun to inoculate children between the ages of 12 and 17 with Sinovac jobs.

Indonesia has been vaccinating its population with Sinovac, Astra-Zeneca and Sinopharm vaccines. However, latest media reports indicate that large numbers of people inoculated with Sinopharm vaccines have contracted the virus. According to The Jakarta Post, 28.3 million people have been given their first vaccine while 13.3 million have been given the second dose as well.