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Asia Minute: Jakarta Hospitals Approaching Capacity

AP Photo/Dita Alangkara
A street vendor walks past a coronavirus-themed mural honoring health workers in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021.

According to Johns Hopkins University, nearly 20 countries around the world have more than a million cases of COVID-19. The United States tops the list by far at more than 25 million cases. But the latest country to break a million is in Southeast Asia.


Indonesia’s hospital system is under stress, and some places are worse off than others. Health officials say medical facilities in Jakarta are more than 90% full, and hospital beds with ventilators are simply not available.

Local media report dozens of people being turned away from hospitals in the capital and elsewhere in the country.

Another concern is the pace of growth in cases and deaths.

Case numbers passed a million on Tuesday — doubling in about two months. 40% of those who have died of the virus in Indonesia have passed away since December 1st.

Local elections were held in much of the country in December, and health officials say that plus new year’s holidays increased the spread of the virus.

Vaccines are underway — using a Chinese two-dose jab called CoronaVac. Because of limited data on the vaccine’s effects on older people, a national campaign is targeting health workers first and those who are in the 18 to 59 age range.

Indonesia is the fourth most-populous country in the world, and when it comes to the coronavirus, no country in Southeast Asia has been hit harder.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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