Red Cross warns Indonesia faces coronavirus catastrophe

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia needs to urgently increase medical care, testing and vaccinations as the number of new infections in the country has rapidly increased and left it “on the edge of a COVID-19 catastrophe,” the Red Cross said Tuesday.

The group said its coronavirus hospital in Bogor, outside of Jakarta, was “overflowing” and emergency tents had been set up to be able to house more patients. It was a similar scene at other hospitals near the capital, including in at the Bekasi city hospital that had 90% of its beds filled.

“We are seeing record number of infections, but every statistic is a person who is suffering, grieving or struggling to support the people they love,” Sudirman Said, secretary general of Indonesian Red Cross, said in a statement. “Our medical teams are providing lifesaving care, with hospitals full to the brim and oxygen supplies critically low.”

The surge in Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, is being blamed in part on the delta variant of the virus, which was first spotted in India and is thought to be more contagious. Indonesia reported more than 20,600 new cases on Monday and more than 400 deaths.

Indonesia has seen more than 2.1 million cases since the pandemic began and more than 57,500 deaths, both the most in Southeast Asia.

Less than 5% of adults in the nation of 270 million people have been fully vaccinated. The Red Cross called for global action so countries like Indonesia can get the vaccines they need.

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Associated Press writer Victoria Milko contributed to this report.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Edna Tarigan, The Associated Press

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