Indonesian health authorities are battling a further surge in coronavirus infections as the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) reported the highest one-day total, with 14,535 cases Confirmed in 24 hours to Monday.
Daily case totals are reaching levels last seen in January, the peak of Indonesia’s fight against the virus.
The tally brought Indonesia’s total to more than two million, the third highest in Asia after India and Iran. At least 294 people died Monday, bringing the country’s total confirmed deaths to more than 54,950. Both total cases and total deaths are the highest in Southeast Asia.
Public health experts say widespread travel during the Muslim holiday period of Eid al-Fitr and the circulation of the most communicable variant of the Delta are believed to be driving the latest surge.
The surge is putting pressure on hospitals, including in Jakarta, where 80% of hospital beds are full, and has added urgency to the government’s plan to vaccinate 1 million people every day for the next month. So far, authorities have only fully vaccinated 12.3 million of Indonesia’s 270 million people and partially immunized another 10.9 million.
Last week, the World Health Organization said Indonesia’s drastic increase in hospital bed occupancy rates was a major concern and required stricter social and public health measures, including large-scale social restrictions.
The government has resisted a large-scale lockdown due to fears of the economic impact. But stricter restrictions will apply for two weeks in 29 “red zones” across the country, where infection rates are high, religious activities in places of worship are suspended, and restaurants, cafes and shopping centers must operate at 25 % of its capacity, said the coordinating Minister of Economy, Airlangga Hartarto. , saying.
“The situation is worrying,” said Riris Andono Ahmad, an epidemiologist at Gajah Mada University. “We are facing a second wave of Covid-19 with the most transmissible variant and low compliance with health protocols by the public.” He urged stricter measures.
“All efforts and government policy to curb the transmission of Covid-19 will be ineffective if it gives space for people to gather and gather,” he said.
The national Covid-19 task force said an increase in infections has been observed in the provinces of Jakarta, Banten, West Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta and East Java. They are all in Java, the most populous of Indonesia’s more than 17,000 islands.
The country’s fatality rate also reached 2.7% as of Monday, higher than the world average of 2.2%. East Java, home to Surabaya, has the highest rate of any country in the province, at 7.3%. Despite the increase in cases, Indonesia has not reviewed the plan to open Bali to international visitors in July.
In the Kudus district, where 308 healthcare workers have been infected, bed occupancy rates exceeded 90% last week. The workers were infected even though most of them had received the Sinovac vaccine earlier this year, raising questions about its effectiveness.
But Badai Ismoyo, head of the Kudus health department, said he believed the vaccine had prevented workers from getting a serious infection. Just over 5% of vaccinated workers had subsequently become infected, he told the Jakarta balloon.
Last week, President Joko Widodo ordered the authorities to increase the vaccination rate. The slow progress in immunizations so far can be attributed to the limited global supply of vaccines, the lack of preparedness of the national health system and the vacillation of vaccines, said the spokesman for the national Covid-19 task force, Wiku Adisasmito.
The government has received 104.7 million doses of vaccines, including 94.5 million from Sinovac, 8.2 million from AstraZeneca and 2 million from Sinopharm. He expects to receive around 50 million doses of Pfizer in the coming months, followed by 50 million doses of Moderna.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has said that deals to import around 104 million doses of AstraZeneca have been hit by delays and only 20 million doses are now expected to arrive this year.
– With Associated Press