Indonesia is struggling with oxygen shortages amid a spate of coronavirus cases in the country.
Between Saturday and early Sunday local time, 63 patients died at a hospital on one of the country’s islands, Java, after their oxygen supplies were nearly depleted, CNN reported.
Although the hospital had tried to raise more resources, oxygen supplies ran out faster than expected after the hospital saw a surge in COVID-19 patients exceeding its capacity. The hospital was able to receive fresh supplies early on Sunday morning.
A hospital spokesperson could not confirm to CNN whether all of the deceased patients were COVID-19 patients.
Overall, Indonesia’s daily oxygen requirement almost exceeds production. The AP reports that demand has reached 1,928 tons of oxygen per day, and government data says the available production capacity is 2,262 tons per day.
Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the Indonesian minister responsible for the country’s pandemic response, said it received a shipment from Singapore of 1,000 ventilators, oxygen cylinders and other supplies on Friday, The Associated Press reported. He said they had also received a shipment from Australia of another 1,000 ventilators.
Pandjaitan added that the country planned to buy 36,000 tons of oxygen and 10,000 concentrators from Singapore, according to the wire service.
“I have requested that 100% of the oxygen goes to medical purposes first, which means that all industrial allocations should be transferred to medical purposes,” Pandjaitan said according to AP. “We are racing against the clock, we have to work fast.”
It’s a very different picture from two months ago, when Indonesia supplied oxygen to India, where the delta variant was first identified.
The need for oxygen comes after the country donated about 3,400 oxygen cylinders and concentrators to India at the height of the country’s gulf. However, plans to send another 2,000 oxygen concentrators to India in mid-June were canceled as the number of cases in Indonesia rose, the AP said.
Since the start of the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports the country has seen 2.4 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 64,000 confirmed deaths from the disease. The AP notes that those numbers are expected to be higher due to poor contact tracing and low testing.
The country saw the highest number of confirmed deaths on Wednesday with 1,040 fatalities. According to WHO data, the number of cases has also risen to more than 30,000 per day in recent days.
During a press conference on Friday, the White House press secretary said: Jen PsakiJen PsakiCawthorn: Biden Door-to-Door Vaccine Strategy Could Be Used to ‘Take’ Guns, Biblical Nightly Defense: Taliban Targets Afghan Air Force Pilots | Haiti calls on US security forces amid unrest Haiti calls on US security forces to monitor infrastructure amid unrest MORE said the US planned to send three million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Indonesia.
“We are also moving forward with plans to increase aid for Indonesia’s wider COVID-19 response efforts. We recognize the difficult situation Indonesia is currently in with a wave of COVID cases, and our thoughts are with all those in Indonesia who have been affected,” said Psaki.