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Asia Minute: Jakarta’s COVID-19 Danger Zone

AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana

As coronavirus vaccines continue across the state and the country, cases are still on the rise in some parts of the world—including Southeast Asia. Indonesia has the most cases in the region—and its capital city is at the center of the spread.

Hospitals in Jakarta are running short on beds for COVID-19 patients.

A week ago, the occupancy rate was 45%. In over seven days, it has jumped to 75%.

The governor of Jakarta says new COVID-19 infections in the city have grown by 50% in a week—and new restrictions may be on the way.

It’s part of a new wave of cases after the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting which is followed by celebrations and traditionally, travel.

For Indonesia, that’s meant more spread of the virus and especially the more transmissible “delta variant” which first emerged in India.

Indonesia’s Health Minister said Monday the variant is now “more dominant” in Jakarta, and case numbers may not peak until next month.

The government is pushing further on vaccinations. Last week it made shots available to anyone over the age of 18 in Jakarta.

President Joko Widodo says he wants to increase nationwide vaccinations to 700,000 a day this month, and 1 million a day by July.

According to government figures, vaccinations have recently been running at about 260,000 shots a day—meaning that within the next couple of weeks health officials will have to quadruple the current pace to reach the government’s goal.

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