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Jakarta bears the brunt as Covid-19 cases surge in ASEAN

Young people gather for vaccination in Indonesia (Photo: IANS)

A serological survey in Jakarta says that almost half the population of the Indonesian capital may have contracted Covid-19. The Jakarta Globe reports that the survey was conducted by Jakarta's health department, the University of Indonesia, the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, and CDC Indonesia.

The survey had been conducted in March while the findings were published only on July 10. It showed that 44.5 per cent of the tested people had developed antibodies against Covid-19. It also indicated that more people had been exposed to the virus than was believed.

Indonesia is battling a surge in coronavirus infections, putting its hospitals under tremendous strain with a shortfall in supplies. The country reported 38,325 new cases with nearly 1,280 deaths, taking the death toll to 76,200.

The entire South East Asian region is under a rising wave of Covid-19 due to the Delta variant which has spread to over 100 countries.

Relief Web reported that in view of the worrisome situation, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) has asked all countries in the region to take inclusive measures to protect everyone without discrimination. Mercy Barends, Indonesian MP and APHR Member said: "While we are all affected by the pandemic, governments are excluding migrant workers from their social and public health policies in their response, leaving them behind and struggling to survive. We will never recover from this health crisis if we do not provide care for everyone, including all migrants".

Like Indonesia, Malaysia too is witnessing a spiral in cases. It reported 12,366 new cases, taking the total number of cases to 939,899, with 93 new deaths. It has now recorded a total of 7,241 deaths due to the pandemic.

The number of infected continues to grow in Myanmar, with 5,860 new cases and 286 new deaths. Deposed popular leader Aung San Suu Kyi has warned people through her lawyers to take precautions from the virus as the military rulers are unable to contain it.

Vietnam also has seen the numbers the Health Ministry announced 2,161 new cases on Tuesday, mostly from Ho Chi Minh City. Its total deaths stand at 334 since the start of the pandemic.

The Philippines reported 4,516 new cases and 58 new deaths.

Thailand had 11,305 new cases with 80 more deaths. Its total death toll stands at 3,502.

South Korea is also seeing record numbers of the infection. It posted a new daily record of 1,784 Covid-19 cases on July 20. These numbers do not include the 266 sailors who were flown to Seoul on Tuesday from a stricken navy destroyer off the African coast. Last week, the government had put Seoul and neighbouring areas under a lockdown with bans on gatherings after 6pm.