Indonesia has recently announced record daily Covid-19 infections of more than 20,000 cases with the emergence of a new virus variant – most notably the Delta variant and increased mobility after Aidilfitri celebrations in the country. The Red Cross has since warned us of a Covid-19 ‘catastrophe’ in the Republic with the health system being overwhelmed by the influx of cases.
As reported by Reuters via the Bangkok Post, the surge of Covid-19 cases saw Indonesia emulating what has recently happened in India whereby the medical oxygen tank supplies are depleting fast. In fact, oxygen prices in the capital city of Jakarta has more than doubled its usual price due to shortages.
With hospitals filling up in Jakarta, patients have had to be turned away and many residents sought to secure oxygen for infected family members at home. According to suppliers, the price for a tank of oxygen in Jakarta, usually priced at around RM208 each has now risen up to approximately RM590 per tank.
One Jakarta resident, Taufik Hidayat, 51, who was queuing at a supplier in the city said,
“I’m queuing here now to refill oxygen for my wife and son who are now positive with Covid-19… I went around and it all was sold out.”
Furthermore, sellers in other areas in Jakarta has also reported that their stocks have depleted.
Nevertheless, Sulung Mulia Putra, an official at Jakarta health agency assured that a shortage at hospitals was only temporary and due to distribution issues that were being resolved. He said,
“Distributors don’t have enough transport so hospitals will be helped by the police, parks agency and Red Cross to transport oxygen,”
This was following hospitals in several designated “red zone” areas in the country reporting overcapacity, including Jakarta, with its isolation beds being 93% occupied as of last week. Indonesian Health Ministry officials has clarified that this was due to the case surge caused by mobility and loosening health protocol adherence. Furthermore, infection rates was also made worse by the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus.
As of 29 June 2021, only 13.3 million out of the 181.5 million targeted population in Indonesia have been fully vaccinated. The country is projecting that all 181.5 million targeted people will be vaccinated by January 2022.
Also read: Vaccine Speedrun! Indonesian Doctor Vaccinates 7 People In Just Under 2 Minutes