A huge oxygen shortage in Indonesia due to Covid cases.
Just two months ago, Indonesia came to the aid of a gasping India with thousands of oxygen tanks.
Today, the Southeast Asian country is running out of oxygen as it endures a devastating wave of coronavirus cases and the government is seeking emergency supplies from other countries, including Singapore and China.
A shipment of more than 1,000 oxygen cylinders, concentrators, ventilators, and other sanitary devices arrived from Singapore on Friday, followed by another 1,000 ventilators from Australia, said Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the government minister in charge of the Indonesian pandemic response.
In addition to those donations, Indonesia plans to purchase 36,000 tons of oxygen and 10,000 concentrators, devices that generate oxygen, from neighboring Singapore, Pandjaitan said.
He said he is in contact with China and other possible sources of oxygen. The United States and the United Arab Emirates have also offered assistance.
“We recognize the difficult situation Indonesia currently finds itself in with an increase in COVID cases,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. In addition to shipping vaccines, the United States is working to increase assistance for Indonesia’s broader COVID-19 response efforts, he said, without elaborating.
Overall, Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world, has reported more than 2.4 million infections and 64,631 deaths from COVID-19. In general, those numbers are believed to be a very low count due to poor testing and poor tracking measures. Indonesia reported the highest number of 1,040 deaths on Wednesday and nearly 39,000 confirmed cases on Thursday and Friday.
Hospitals are overcrowded, with increasing numbers of sick people dying in isolation at home or while waiting for emergency care.
In Java, Indonesia’s most populous island, hospitals began setting up makeshift intensive care units in mid-June. Many patients wait days to be admitted. Oxygen tanks were placed on the sidewalks for those lucky enough to get them, while others have been told they have to find their own.
Emergency rooms at a public hospital in Bandung city closed earlier this week after running out of oxygen amid panic shopping fueled by rising infections in the provincial capital of West Java, said Yaya Mulyana, deputy mayor of West Java. the city.
“People in panic bought oxygen tanks even though they didn’t need them yet,” Mulyana said. “That has caused oxygen supplies to be depleted.”
At a hospital in Yogyakarta, in central Java, 63 COVID-19 patients died in one day, 33 of them during a central liquid oxygen supply disruption, although the hospital had switched to oxygen cylinders, spokesman Banu said. Hermawan.
Indonesia donated 3,400 oxygen cylinders and concentrators to India when a brutal outbreak devastated the country. As its own cases mounted, Jakarta canceled a plan to send another 2,000 oxygen concentrators to India in late June.
The daily need for oxygen has reached 1,928 tons per day. The country’s total available production capacity is 2,262 tons per day, according to government data.
“I asked that 100% of the oxygen go to medical purposes first, which means that all industrial allocations must be transferred to medical services,” said Pandjaitan, the government minister. “We are racing against time, we have to work fast.”
Given the rapid spread of the highly infectious delta variant, he warned that Indonesia could face the worst-case scenario with 50,000 cases a day. The next two weeks will be critical, he said.
The Industry Ministry responded by issuing a decree for all oxygen supplies to be sent to hospitals full of coronavirus patients and asked industry players to cooperate.
Oxygen is used in the manufacture of many products, including textiles, plastics, and vehicles. Oil refineries, chemical manufacturers, and steel manufacturers also use it. But industry leaders have supported the government’s efforts to maximize supplies for hospitals.
The government has redirected oxygen supplies from industrial plants in Morowali in Central Sulawesi, Balikpapan on the island of Borneo, and Belawan and Batam on the islands of Sumatra, Pandjaitan said. Smaller oxygen industries have also turned to produce pharmaceutical oxygen.