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Indonesia looks to India for lessons amid second COVID wave

Indonesia looks to India for lessons amid second COVID wave

Illustration. ANTARA/Shutterstock/pri.

Indonesia has turned to India for lessons in battling COVID-19 in the wake of a second wave of infections triggered by the new Delta variant.

The country’s COVID-19 cases have hit a record, with daily cases reaching 21,807 on June 30, 2021, bringing the total tally to 2,178,272. Meanwhile, the death toll has climbed to 58,491.

The Indonesian government announced the nation’s first coronavirus cases on March 2, 2020.

In comparison, the Indian Health Ministry on May 6, 2021 reported 3,980 daily deaths, which took the national total to 230,168, and 412,262 daily cases, which brought India's caseload since the start of the pandemic to 21.1 million.

According to Indonesia, India has been quite successful in curbing the recent spike in cases, with daily infections falling to 50 thousand of late.

"There is a lesson that we can learn from there," President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said on June 30, 2021.

Related news: COVID-19 delta variant tends to infect patients under 18: Ministry

Over these past few weeks, Jakarta and many other provinces across Indonesia have witnessed an alarming resurgence of COVID-19 cases amid the government's ongoing vaccination drives.

In flattening the COVID-19 curve, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, for instance, has urged local residents to abstain from frequent travel.

Meanwhile, in response to the alarming resurgence of new COVID-19 cases in the country, President Jokowi himself has earlier highlighted the necessity for state institutions and all levels of government to be on the same wavelength.

Such a fast and appropriate response necessitates state institutions, the central government, and regional governments to be on the same frequency, he  emphasized.

Recently, Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin got in touch with his Indian counterpart, while President Jokowi spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over phone to discuss the reason behind the spike in cases in India and ways to handle the COVID-19 crisis.

Then, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi approached her Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Italy on June 28, 2021 to seek a relaxation of permits for the export of therapeutic medicines from India to Indonesia amid a spike in COVID-19 infections.

The Indonesian government has intensified the vaccination program and is targeting to administer at least one million doses daily and up to two million doses a day starting August to speed up the realization of herd immunity.

Under the first phase of the vaccination program, the government is aiming to inoculate 40,349,049 people against COVID-19 out of the 181.5 million recipients targeted by the national immunization program overall.

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As many as 13,329,738 Indonesians have received the full dose of the COVID-19 vaccine under the national vaccination program as of June 29, 2021. The government is prioritizing healthcare workers under the program. Data has shown that a total of 405 doctors have succumbed to COVID-19 as of June 27 this year.

In the wake of the second wave of infections, the Indonesian government has asked authorities to slam an emergency break and impose much stricter restrictions on people's activities on Java and Bali Islands, covering 129 districts where COVID-19 cases have increased drastically, from July 3-21, 2021.

During the "lockdown", malls, shopping centers, places of worship, public facilities, such as parks, will remain temporarily closed; people in non-essential jobs will be required to solely work from home; students will be required to study online from home; sports and other activities, which can cause crowding, will be temporarily banned; while supermarkets and small shops will remain open until 8 p.m. local time.

The emergency break is crucial to keep the country's health system from collapsing as the hospital bed occupancy rate on Java Island, including in Jakarta, has crossed 90 percent following the recent surge in coronavirus cases.

"We have been overwhelmed. Usually the Bed Occupancy Rate (BOR) reaches 50-60 percent. Now in Java and Jakarta, (it) is already above 90 percent, and the number of on-duty doctors is also down because many have been infected with COVID-19," Dr. Isman Firdaus, chairman of the Indonesian Cardiovascular Specialist Doctors Association (PERKI), said.

The Ministry of Health is encouraging members of the public who still have to conduct outdoor activities to wear double masks at home in order to avert infections.

COVID-19 infections within families can be caused by droplets dispersed by coughing and sneezing, it said. Therefore, family members, with high mobility or who are in the risk group, should wear double masks even at home, especially those living with members belonging to vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women, children, and senior citizens, it advised.  

Related news: COVID-19: East Java records five new Delta variant cases

 

 

 

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