The world’s fourth most populous country is battling one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Asia, with 27,913 infections yesterday becoming the latest among many peaks over the past two weeks.
In a statement, Sargeto Hospital on Java island said 63 patients died after nearly running out of oxygen during the period from yesterday until early today, when new supplies arrived. However, a hospital spokesperson could not confirm whether all the dead had contracted the coronavirus.
In response, the government asked the gas industry to increase production of medical oxygen, Health Ministry official Nadia Tarmizi said.
“We also hope that people will not hoard oxygen,” she added, referring to stocks that could have the effect of depriving many of the gas.
The hospital said that days before the accident, it had sought more oxygen, but that the influx of virus patients since Friday had pushed it beyond its capacity, consuming supplies sooner than expected. The crisis eased when I started receiving more supplies just before dawn today.
Separately, the ministry overseeing the Covid response in Indonesia has ordered the gas industry to prioritize production to meet the estimated demand of 800 tons of oxygen per day to meet medical needs. The ministry added that the industry has an idle capacity of 225,000 tons per year that can still be used.
Hospitals across the main island of Java have been pushed to the brink by the spread of the highly contagious delta type.
In the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, the government said the daily number of funerals after Covid protocols has increased tenfold since early May, with 392 funerals yesterday. Today was also the 18th day of “emergency” restrictions that went into effect on the islands of Java and Bali to control the spread of the virus.
From Tuesday, the ministry said, Indonesia will restrict access for foreign visitors, allowing only those who have been fully vaccinated and have a negative PCR test, although diplomatic travel is excluded.
Visitors will still have to spend eight days in quarantine upon arrival.