JAKARTA: Indonesia is preparing more intensive care units after registering several days of record Covid-19 deaths last week, while the country waits to see if the government extends or looses the tight restrictions expiring on Sunday.
Overcoming the wave of the virus caused by the Delta variants, Indonesia has become the epicenter of Covid-19 in Asia, hospitals are flooded, especially on the densely populated island of Java.
“Mortality has increased due to a number of factors: hospitals are overcrowded, patients admitted with low saturation levels, or dying without supervision as a result of self-isolation,” Senior Minister Luhut Panjayitan said in a statement late Saturday night.
Luhut, who is overseeing the Covid response in Java and Bali, said intensive care facilities will be added in areas that have recorded the most deaths.
Bali, known for its touristy beaches and temples, is struggling with oxygen shortages.
Indonesia last week reported a record number of deaths in four separate days, the most recent of which was 1,566 on Friday, bringing the total to over 82,000. The total number of infections has exceeded 3.1 million, although health experts say both the number of deaths and the number of cases have been underestimated.
Just under 7% of its 270 million population have been fully vaccinated, with Southeast Asia’s largest country relying heavily on vaccines from China’s Sinovac Biotech.
The debate over whether the restrictions should be loosened has pushed health experts, who say it is premature to loosen restrictions amid the spike in infections, against employer groups that warned of mass layoffs unless the restrictions are relaxed.
The government is due to hold a press conference later Sunday, but has not yet set a time. -Reuters