For much of the past year, it seemed like Indonesia had managed to hold on to its Covid-19 epidemic largely under control.

Today, the island nation – home to around 270 million people – has become The new epicenter of the pandemic in Asia, reporting more cases and deaths daily than hard-hit India as a devastating second wave sweeps across the archipelago.

With tens of thousands of infections recorded daily, experts say the country’s health system could be pushed to the brink of disaster if the spread of the virus continues unabated.

Here is what you need to know about the crisis in Indonesia.

How have Covid-19 cases and deaths increased in Indonesia?

Infections started to rise towards the end of May, after the Eid Al-Fitr holiday to mark the end of the Islamic fasting month – and rapidly increased exponentially.

Crisis fueled by spread of more infectious virus, health experts say Delta variant, first identified in India.

“Every day, we see this Delta variant bringing Indonesia closer to the edge of a Covid-19 disaster,” said Jan Gelfand, head of the Indonesian delegation to the International Federation of Red Cross Societies at the end of June. of the Red Crescent (IFRC). .

Experts blamed the government for its slow response by not implementing strict lockdowns last year after cases were first reported in the country and its alleged failure to invest in effective screening and tracing systems.

As of July 20, Indonesia had recorded nearly 3 million total cases and more than 76,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. But experts fear the numbers underestimate the actual spread in the country due to a lack of testing.

A World Health Organization (WHO) report in July, said inadequate testing continued to be a problem, with more than 50% of provinces reporting a testing rate below the recommended benchmark.

“Without proper testing, many provinces are unable to isolate confirmed cases in time,” the report says.

Indonesian Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin told CNN beginning of July that authorities initially did not realize how quickly the virus had spread during this latest wave.

The islands of Java and Bali were placed under emergency control on July 3 along with other towns in the archipelago. Domestic travel is not limited, although it depends on a negative Covid-19 test.

On July 20, Indonesia extended the restrictions on Covid-19 until July 25.

Which regions of Indonesia are affected?

Indonesia’s most populous islands, Java and Sumatra, saw cases soar during the second wave.

In Kudus, central Java, cases jumped nearly 7,600% in the four weeks following Eid Al-Fitr, Reuters reported on June 11, citing Wiku Adisasmito of the Indonesian Covid-19 task force.

Java’s hospitals are being pushed to the brink and the country’s oxygen supply is dangerously low, while oxygen prices have skyrocketed. More than 60 people died at a single facility in early July after a hospital in Java nearly depleted its oxygen supply, although a hospital spokesperson could not confirm whether all of the dead contracted Covid-19.

In Jakarta, nearly half of the capital’s 10.6 million inhabitants may have contracted Covid-19, according to a Health survey published July 10. Of 5,000 people tested between March 15 and March 31, 44.5% had antibodies, indicating they had been infected with the virus.

In Riau Province, Sumatra, daily cases more than doubled from early April to over 800 by mid-May, while the positivity rate was 35.8% in early June, according to Wildan Asfan Hasibuan, epidemiologist. and advisor to the provincial working group.

And according to WHO, there has been an upward trend in Covid-19 cases in most provinces of Sumatra since April.

Who is affected by the second Indonesian wave?

More than 550 children have died since the start of the pandemic, about 27% of whom have died in the first weeks of July.

Parents often think they mistake the symptoms for a cold and do not have children tested, according to Aman B. Pulungan, president of the Indonesian Pediatric Society.

“When they realize it’s Covid-19, the condition is already bad,” Aman said. “When they take the children to the hospital, sometimes we don’t have enough time to save the children. It happens a lot.”

Frontline workers have also been hit by the wave. Beginning of July, more than 350 doctors and medical workers in Java caught Covid-19 despite being vaccinated with Chinese-made Sinovac. Most of the workers were asymptomatic and self-isolating at home, but dozens were hospitalized with high fevers and falling oxygen saturation levels.

How is the vaccine deployment going in Indonesia?

Indonesia relied mainly on Sinovac in its national immunization program, which began in January, with health workers receiving the first batch, followed by government officials and the general public.

The rollout got off to a slow start, amid concerns over Sinovac’s effectiveness against more infectious variants – and authorities are struggling to get enough people vaccinated.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on July 14 that vaccines were “the country’s hope to recover from this global health crisis.” But as of July 20, Indonesia had only fully vaccinated 6% of its population, according to CNN’s Covid-19 vaccine tracker.

Indonesia has received more than 11.7 million AstraZeneca vaccines through COVAX, according to Gavi, who coordinates the global vaccine sharing program. The country has also received more than 4.5 million doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, donated by the United States.

Indonesian Health Minister Budi told a press briefing on July 11 that all health workers would receive a third injection of Moderna’s mRNA vaccine as a priority, adding that it would also be used as the first and second injection. for the unvaccinated public.

On June 28, the government opened the Sinovac vaccination campaign to children aged 12 to 17, with Widodo urging the expanded deployment to “kick off immediately.”

What role does disinformation play?

A major obstacle to controlling the epidemic is the spread of disinformation across the country.

According to a UNICEF report in May, false claims on social media created fear and anxiety in some people, leading to vaccine hesitancy and lax social distancing efforts.

A nationwide survey last year by the Department of Communications and Information and the Katadata Insight Center also found that 64 to 79 percent of respondents could not recognize disinformation online. An overwhelming majority said they primarily seek information through social media.

“As Covid-19 is a new disease, even experts are still learning it,” said Rizky Syafitri, communications specialist at UNICEF. “As a result, many people have struggled to find the most up-to-date information, giving some people the opportunity to benefit from misrepresentation.”

Are other countries helping Indonesia?

Besides the United States, several countries have donated vaccines and medical supplies to alleviate the Covid crisis in Indonesia.

On July 1, Japan sent nearly one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

On July 7, Australia announced it would send a medical package to aid Indonesia, which includes $ 8.8 million for medical supplies, including 1,000 ventilators, up to 700 oxygen concentrators and more of 170 oxygen cylinders.

Canberra also sent more than 40,000 rapid antigen test kits and 2.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine.

“Australia stands alongside our close partner and neighbor Indonesia as it responds to a significant increase in Covid-19 cases,” said Marise Payne, the country’s foreign minister.

In a July 20 statement, Singapore’s Foreign Ministry said it had organized regular shipments of emergency oxygen supplies to Indonesia.

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CNN’s Amy Sood contributed reporting.