Indonesia reports daily record Covid-19 deaths, hospitals strained

Indonesia started its mass vaccination campaign last week and aims to inoculate 181.5 million people. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia reported 346 deaths from Covid-19 on Thursday (Jan 21), hitting a new record for the second time this week, as hospitals in the South-east Asian nation come under increasing strain from the coronavirus pandemic.

Data from Indonesia's Covid-19 taskforce showed that deaths now total 27,203, while confirmed cases reached 951,651, among the highest in Asia.

The record fatalities and sharp rise in daily cases in recent weeks come amid warnings that the situation could imminently worsen in Indonesia's hospitals.

"Hospitals could collapse in the coming days if they're not managed," said Ms Irma Hidayana, a co-founder of the data initiative group Lapor Covid-19.

Capacity of isolation beds at Covid-19 referral hospitals in Jakarta had reached 87 per cent and intensive care unit beds were 82 per cent occupied, data from the city government showed as of Jan 17.

The high occupancy has seen some patients die after being turned away from hospitals with no space for them.

Ms Irma said one man was earlier this month rejected by 10 hospitals, including three in Jakarta, before later succumbing to the respiratory disease.

Nearly 40 Covid-19 patients had been turned away from Jakarta hospitals since the end of December, the group's findings showed.

Dr Dewi Nur Aisyah, a taskforce epidemiologist, told a news conference earlier this week that recorded deaths by mid-January were higher than the average of previous months. Indonesia recorded 3,849 deaths from Jan 1 to Jan 17.

Indonesia started its mass vaccination campaign last week and aims to inoculate 181.5 million people, or roughly 67 per cent of the population, to reach herd immunity.

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