INDONESIA (July 6): The Indonesian government has ordered producers to prioritise medical oxygen amid a Covid-19 surge and a shortage of oxygen in a number of cities, reported BBC on June 5.

With Indonesia recording more than 25,000 cases in a day, the news report highlighted hospitals have exhausted all supplies with one reporting that 63 patients have died due to the oxygen shortage.

In Jakarta alone, the daily number of funerals following Covid-19 protocols jumped 10-fold since early May, the report said. 

Indonesia has the worst outbreak so far South East Asia, with a record of 2.3 million positive cases and more than 60,000 deaths so far.

Last week, the country’s main island of Java and the tourist island of Bali had to undergo a lockdown.

The report added that on Monday, two hospitals in the city of Bandung announced that they had run out of oxygen, and had to reject new patients seeking emergency treatment.

The report said emergency services and intensive care units of public hospitals in the cities of Bandung, Surakarta, and Pamekasan were struggling with an influx of people seeking admission, with some having to turn away patients and some of hospitals forced to set up tents outside to have more space for the patients.

Meanwhile, in the Regional General Hospital (RSUD) in Bandung, the emergency room was closed for Covid-19 patients as of July 2, with the lack of oxygen being one of the reasons, the report said. 

According to the report, Hospital head Mulyadi said there has been a shortage of oxygen supply from distributors and vendors since four days ago and the producers of the medical oxygen are also facing difficulties to increase the supply.

Health ministry official Siti Nadia Tarmizi has also urged people to not hoard oxygen and has pleaded with the gas industry to step up production of medical oxygen.

The report also noted that there is a high number of infections and deaths among the country's medical frontline workers, despite most of them being vaccinated.

“The country is mostly relying on the Chinese Sinovac jabs and experts are now considering giving a third dose to boost efficacy against the new Delta variant,” the report said. 

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