Indonesian cases hit record but less severe, fewer deaths
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s confirmed coronavirus infections since the pandemic began crossed 5 million on Thursday, the highest in Southeast Asia, but the related deaths and bed occupancy fueled by the highly transmissible omicron variant remained lower than in the previous outbreak.
Since Tuesday, daily COVID-19 cases have outpaced July’s record that had overwhelmed hospitals on the main island of Java, hitting 63,956 on Thursday. The Health Ministry also reported 206 deaths compared to more than 2,000 a day at the peak of the surge last year. Data showed the bed occupancy rate at 33%, and 25% for intensive case units.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has said that cases and deaths are expected to increase further but hospitals are unlikely to overflow again because omicron generally causes less severe symptoms.
The government was equipping hospitals with more beds, and Jakarta continues to be the hardest hit in Indonesia. Bed occupancy rates at 140 coronavirus hospitals in the city rose from 5% in early January to 59% on Thursday.
Nearly half of all beds for COVID-19 patients in West Java, Yogyakarta and Bali were full, according to the Health Ministry.
National COVID-19 task force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito said the situation remained under control. He said 71% of 74,838 hospitalized patients were asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.
“Let us help those who are in bad need of hospital care as they suffer from severe symptoms, have comorbidities or in critical condition,” he told a news conference.
Data showed 68% of the omicron-related deaths were unvaccinated people, while 49% were elderly and 48% with other severe illnesses. Only 66% of Indonesia’s 208 million people eligible for shots have been fully vaccinated.