WHO warns of new wave from Indonesia fueled by virus variants
Indonesian President has ordered authorities to speed up country’s vaccination campaign, as World Health Organization warns of need to increase social restrictions in the country
“We need an acceleration of vaccination to achieve community immunity, which we hope can stop the spread of COVID-19,” President Joko Widodo said in a speech during a visit to a vaccination center just outside the capital, Jakarta.
Widodo said he had ordered his ministers and local governments to increase the number of people vaccinated each day to 1 million by next month. He said Indonesia is currently vaccinating half a million people a day.
Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, aims to vaccinate more than 181 million of its 270 million people by March 2022, but authorities have only fully vaccinated 11.8 million people and partially vaccinated 9.6 million more.
Indonesia saw its number of new confirmed cases climb to nearly 10,000 a day on Wednesday, an increase attributed to travel during the Eid al-Fitr holiday last month as well as the arrival of new variants of viruses, such as the Delta version first found in India. In Jakarta, the number of occupied hospital beds soared to 75% this week from 45% last week, according to government data.
The WHO in its situation report on Thursday noted that the drastic increase in bed occupancy rates in Indonesia is a major concern and requires the implementation of stricter public health and social measures, including social restrictions. in large scale.
“With increased transmission due to worrying variants, urgent action is needed to contain the situation in many provinces,” he said.
Indonesian health authorities say they have detected the Delta variant in the provinces of Jakarta, Central Java and East Java. They say they have spotted three of the four worrying variants reported by the WHO.
Adisasmito said a peak in coronavirus infections was seen this week in the provinces of Jakarta, Banten, West Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta and East Java. All are located in Java, the most populous of more than 17,000 Indonesian islands.
Indonesia has reported more than 1.9 million cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic, with more than 53,400 deaths, the highest toll in Southeast Asia. These numbers are considered an undercoverage due to a lack of widespread testing.
Associated Press writers Victoria Milko and Edna Tarigan contributed to this report.
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