Indonesia’s health minister on delta Covid surge, hospital capacity

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said the Indonesian government increased hospital bed capacity in preparation for a surge in Covid infections after the holidays, but parts of the country are still running out of beds as daily cases hit new highs.

He told CNBCs “Road signs Asia“That Indonesia has up to around 130,000 beds for Covid patients and 72,000 people have been in isolation beds since yesterday.

However, he admitted that the Southeast Asian nation faces two problems.

“The first problem is that the acceleration is much faster than it was in January and February,” he said. “So for a very dense area … we’re starting the mobility restrictions next week to ensure that the speed of incoming patients to the hospital is reduced.”

He attributed the increase in new cases to the Delta variant, which was first discovered in India.

Indonesia Tightened restrictions in foci of infection last week and announced that on Thursday Stricter emergency measures apply from July 3rd to July 20th.

In the Jakarta region it already reaches 90% of the bed capacity.

Budi Gunadi Sadikin

Indonesia’s Minister of Health

The second problem is that the infections are concentrated in certain parts of the country, particularly the most populous island of Java.

“In the Jakarta region it already reaches 90% of the bed capacity,” he said on Wednesday.

Jan Gelfand of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said “lightning-fast action” is needed to give countries like Indonesia access to vaccines.

“Every day we see how this Delta variant brings Indonesia closer to the brink of a Covid-19 catastrophe.” Gelfand, the head of the IFRC’s Indonesian delegation, said in a press release.

No nationwide lockdown

Indonesia’s Minister of Health is allegedly pushes for stricter Covid measures in Indonesia, however, told CNBC that authorities will not consider a nationwide lockdown.

“Definitely not, because … the cluster is only in a certain area,” he said. “Kalimantan doesn’t have that. Sulawesi doesn’t have that. Most of Sumatra doesn’t, (and) Bali is still under control.”

Indonesia’s tourism minister told Reuters this week that the country wanted to reopen Bali, a popular vacation spot, late July or early August, however, needs to “watch out for the recent rise” in some cases.

Health Minister Budi said in Sumatra and Kalimantan only 30 to 40 percent of hospital beds were occupied. “It’s not evenly distributed.”

A Covid-19 patient in the complex of the Wisma Atlet Covid-19 Emergency Hospital.

Risa Krisadhi | SOPA pictures | LightRakete | Getty Images

He also said Indonesia can increase oxygen production if necessary, adding that the country has diverted some of its industrial supplies to hospitals.

Distribution is a problem, however, as the factories are mainly located in West and East Java, while Central Java needs oxygen, he said.

Vaccination progress

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