Deaths in Indonesia from COVID-19 raises sharply, numbers doubled in 2 days
Jakarta: Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous nation is grappling with COVID-19 deaths, and the numbers have doubled in two days since Wednesday.
As per Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus has overwhelmed the largely unvaccinated country's healthcare system.
Around 5 per cent of Indonesia's 270 million people are fully vaccinated and infections have been rising for days. The country reported a record 1,040 deaths from Covid-19 on Wednesday, up from 558 deaths two days ago, reported WSJ.
Hospitals in many parts of the archipelago have run out of beds and ventilators. Fears of oxygen scarcity have led authorities to import supplies from abroad.
Hundreds of healthcare workers who were fully inoculated with shots developed by China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd - which make up the bulk of Indonesia's current vaccine supply - are infected with COVID-19, reducing the medical manpower available to deal with the flow of patients, doctors' associations said, reported WSJ.
"Now we are in a very severe situation," said Dicky Budiman, an Indonesian epidemiologist at Griffith University in Australia, adding that cases were likely to rise further in the coming days.
Doctors and volunteers say many people are dying in their homes without being tested for COVID-19 and that reported cases and deaths don't accurately reflect the scale of Indonesia's crisis.
The country reported 34,000 new infections on Wednesday, its highest single-day tally. Authorities have said the Delta variant is circulating widely and is dominant in parts of the country, reported WSJ.
Meanwhile, Indonesia's COVID-19 cases are surging and health experts are worried about the number of children becoming infected due to parents ignoring guidelines.
According to the official data up to June 2021, the total number of children in Indonesia who have been infected was around 250,000 -- or 12.6 per cent of the total cases.
Throughout the pandemic, 676 children have died from COVID-19 -- about 1.2 per cent of total deaths.
Alarmingly, 50 per cent of the children who died were under five years old, reported ABC News.
"It's our failure in taking care of our children and causing them to contract COVID," said Dr Aman Pulungan, the President of the Indonesian Pediatric Society.
On Tuesday, Indonesia confirmed a new daily record of 31,189 cases. With hospitals already stretched, there are calls for increased testing of children.
Dr Pulungan told the ABC that 11,872 children in the country had been infected with COVID-19 in a week.
"It's very concerning, the number is increasing," Dr Pulungan said.
Despite the rising cases, people are still risking their children's health by taking them outside without following the health guidelines properly, Dr Pulungan said.
"We brought them out into the crowds. Parents brought their kids to restaurants, shopping centres, and for travelling and holiday," he said.
However, Dr Pulungan said parents were not entirely to blame.
He said there should be more testing and tracing of children, and hospital spots set aside for them.
"The society, in general, has underestimated children ... at the airports they didn't swab children before travelling or make wearing a mask compulsory for them," he said.
Indonesia's Health Ministry said children aged 12 to 17 have been able to receive two doses of Sinovac vaccine, with a minimum 28-day interval, since the end of June, reported ABC News. (ANI)