Jakarta (ANTARA) - With Indonesia recording an exponential increase in COVID-19 cases, several countries have stepped in to provide vaccines and medical equipment to help the nation fight the latest spike in infections.

Fifteen days since the imposition of public movement restrictions, Indonesia's COVID-19 cases have continued to explode, with the country adding 51,952 daily cases on Saturday, bringing the tally to 2,832,755.

With 1,092 people succumbing to the virus in a single day, the death toll climbed to 72,489. Meanwhile, the number of daily recoveries reached 27,903, taking the total tally so far to 2,232,394.

Jakarta contributed the highest number of daily cases at 10,168 on Saturday. This may just be the tip of the iceberg, with a recent survey showing that 91.9 percent of COVID-19 cases in Jakarta have gone undetected.

The survey was conducted by the pandemic team from University of Indonesia's Faculty of Public Health (FKM UI), in collaboration with the Jakarta Provincial Health Office, Eijkman Institute, and CDC Indonesia.

According to the serological survey conducted from March 15 - March 31, 2021, the detection rate of COVID-19 cases is very low, as only 8.1 percent cases have been detected, while 91.9 percent have remained undetected.

The number of cases in the population could be much higher since only 8.1 percent cases have been reported or detected in the system, epidemiologist Pandu Riono from FKM UI said on July 14, 2021.

Related news: 91.9% COVID-19 cases in Jakarta undetected in survey: UI

To deal with the current COVID-19 spike, the Indonesian government has imposed emergency people's movement restrictions (PPKM) in Bali and Java Islands from July 3 to July 20, 2021, with the support of the police and military personnel.

The emergency restrictions are being coordinated by Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut, Binsar Pandjaitan, who has assured that the government has calculated the worst-case scenario regarding the COVID-19 surge.

The worst-case scenario calculation includes measures on how oxygen supply, medicines, and hospitals will be determined if the case count reaches over 40 thousand per day, and even up to 70 thousand per day, he said.

With the drastic coronavirus spike triggered by the Delta variant taking the nation by surprise, hospital capacities have become overstretched, oxygen and therapeutic drugs have begun running out, and healthcare workers are complaining of exhaustion.

As part of its COVID-19 response, the government has converted flats, government buildings, and sports stadiums in red zone areas into treatment or isolation sites for COVID-19 patients. State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private sector players have been pushed to increase supplies of oxygen, therapeutic drugs, and medical equipment.

Health Minister Budi Sadikin said the government has converted large hospitals -- Fatmawati Hospital, Persahabatan Hospital, and Sulianti Saroso Hospital -- into 100-percent COVID-19 hospitals.

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Military and police personnel as well as volunteers have been deployed to support healthcare workers in the treatment and vaccination programs, he informed.

The government strongly believes that vaccination is key to stopping the COVID-19 surge, and therefore, it has accelerated the vaccination program, which was rolled out on January 13, 2021, he said.

"Do not underestimate Indonesia's capabilities. Up until today, yes (we can). However, when cases reach over 40 thousand -50 thousand, we will implement a scenario on who we will ask assistance for, and we have started on this approach," Pandjaitan said.

According to the Foreign Ministry, as of July 13, 2021, the Indonesian government has secured and received at least 137,611,540 vaccine doses through bilateral as well as multilateral cooperation with other countries.

Of the total figure, Indonesia has procured 108.5 million Sinovac shots and 1.5 million Sinopharm doses from the two Chinese pharmaceutical companies, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said.

Moreover, Indonesia has received about 14.7 million AstraZeneca shots through the COVAX facility, including 2,161,240 doses from Japan.

The United Arab Emirates has also demonstrated its support for Indonesia's COVID-19 response through a donation of 750 thousand Sinopharm shots.

Besides, Indonesia has received three million Moderna doses from the United States and the second shipment of 1.5 million doses of Moderna is on its way to Jakarta.

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The US government has continued efforts to increase assistance for Indonesia's broader COVID-19 response efforts, which has included more than US$14.5 million in direct COVID-19 relief. It has also donated COVID-19 testing equipment, one thousand ventilators, and nearly two thousand hand-washing stations to Indonesia.

Besides, USAID is providing health education to the public, training thousands of health workers, and funding a national COVID-19 information website that reaches more than 36 million people.

More COVID-19 vaccines, obtained through procurement efforts as well as dose-sharing, are expected to arrive within this month from Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the UAE, as well as via the COVAX facility.

Besides vaccines, the Indonesian government has received other aid from several countries, including one thousand ventilators donated by Australia to tackle the shortage of medical equipment.

In addition to ventilators, Australia has said it will send 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders, antigen test kits, and other medical equipment in stages to Indonesia.

The Indonesian government has expressed gratitude for the cooperation and assistance from Australia, a comprehensive strategic partner.

Apart from Australia, several other countries, including Singapore, the United States, the Netherlands, Japan, Britain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), India, and China have also offered help to Indonesia to deal with the explosion in COVID-19 cases.

In early July this year, medical equipment, comprising ventilators, oxygen cylinders, face masks, gloves, and personal protective equipment (PPEs), donated by the government of Singapore, arrived in Jakarta to help Indonesia battle the second wave of COVID-19.

In addition, the Indonesian government has purchased 10 thousand oxygen concentrators from Singapore, of which 30 have arrived along with other medical equipment donated by the neighboring country.

Related news: Indonesia receives vaccines, oxygen cylinders from UAE, Singapore

Besides, 11 thousand oxygen concentrators have been donated to Indonesia by the Temasek Foundation and 15 Indonesian and Singaporean companies -- Bakti Barito Foundation, Cikarang Listrindo, Dharma Satya Nusantara, East Ventures, Indies Capital Partners, Kino Indonesia, Sinar Mas, Tanoto Foundation, TBS Energi Utama, Triputra Group, UID Foundation, Wahana Artha, CapitaLand Hope Foundation, DBS Bank, and Singtel.

The latest shipment of donations from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on July 17, 2021 has comprised 250 thousand Sinopharm vaccines, 450 units of 40-liter oxygen cylinders, 150 portable oxygen concentrators, and 20 tons of medical safety gear, including personal protective equipment, face masks, and gloves.

In the meantime, Indonesian Trade Minister Muhammad Lutfi has discussed cooperation in the supply and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines with the United States during a recent working visit.

Speaking at the Indonesia-United States Trade and Investment Dialogue, Lutfi said he has convinced several American parties that the supply and distribution of vaccines is key to Indonesia's economic recovery.

Dozens of US businessmen, including representatives from vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, participated in the business forum, held at the Indonesian Embassy in Washington D.C.

The Indonesian government needs 426 million vaccine doses to meet its COVID-19 vaccination target by the end of 2021, Lutfi told the forum. Therefore, the government needs to establish cooperation with several parties to be able to handle the pandemic, he said in a statement released on July 15, 2021.

Related news: Over 14.44 million Indonesians fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Editor: Suharto
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