Indonesia braces for record number of COVID-19 cases amid Delta variant surge

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June 25 (UPI) — Indonesia is reporting a record number of coronavirus cases and emergency tents outside hospitals in Jakarta have been built to prepare for a surge in infections, according to authorities.

Recipients of Chinese vaccines also are falling ill with the Delta variant, reports say.

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Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said Friday in a virtual briefing that hospitals in the nation’s capital have built tents outdoors for use as emergency rooms for incoming patients.

Existing emergency rooms have been converted into wards to accommodate COVID-19 patients, the minister said, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

Indonesia reported more than 20,000 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. On Friday, that number fell to 18,872 confirmed cases, but the rising number of infections is overwhelming hospitals. The country has reported more than 2 million cases since the start of the pandemic.

Hospital beds for COVID-19 patients have a 67% occupancy rate nationwide, but in the Jakarta metropolitan area, that rate is more than 90%, the report said.

Sadikin said Friday that Fatmawati Hospital, Persahabatan Hospital and Sulianti Saroso Infection Center Hospital in Jakarta are to fall under the direct supervision of Indonesia’s health ministry, and that it will only accept COVID-19 patients.

The health ministry also said a sufficient oxygen supply exists for COVID-19 patients in the country.

Only a quarter of total oxygen production capacity is being used for medical purposes and more can be manufactured, Sadikin said Friday.

Indonesia is struggling amid the pandemic because of the spread of the Delta variant in parts of the country, according to the New York Times on Friday.

Doctors and other health workers are falling ill even after being vaccinated with China’s Sinovac vaccine as other vaccines are delayed, the report said.

The Delta variant has spread quickly in Java after a religious holiday, when people traveled across the country. Cases increased to about 400 a day from 30 daily in mid-May, according to the report.