According to a medical association, more than a dozen fully vaccinated doctors have died of COVID-19 as the Southeast Asian country struggles with a rash of serious cases in inoculated medical workers and new highly infectious virus strains.
Infections rose to 270 million people last week, with more than 2.05 million cases reported on Saturday, as hospital occupancy rates soared to more than 75 percent in Jakarta and other affected areas.
About 1,000 Indonesian health workers have died from the virus since the pandemic began, and the country’s medical association confirmed on Friday that there were 401 doctors among the victims, 14 of whom were completely vaccinated.
“We are still updating the data and confirming whether the other cases had been vaccinated or not,” the association’s COVID-19 mitigation chief, Mohammad Adib Khumaidi, told reporters.
The increase in serious cases of inoculated medical workers has raised questions about the Sinovac jab produced in China, which Indonesia relies heavily on to vaccinate more than 180 million people early next year.
This month, it was found that more than 300 vaccinated doctors and health workers from Central Java had been infected with COVID-19, with a dozen hospitalized.
The country is also facing new strains of virus, including the highly infectious Delta variant first identified in India.
In the capital, Jakarta, the increase in cases has forced hospitals to set up emergency tents, according to the Detik news website, which cites provincial government officials.
In Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province, Dr. Inke Nadia D Lubis, a member of the COVID working group in the area, reported that in the past six months up to 1,800 children have been infected with the virus, including 14 who have had died.
More than a third of the reported cases were primary school students, while a quarter were high school students, according to Detik, according to Inke.
On Friday, President Joko Widodo said the country faces an “extraordinary situation,” promising to respond with “quick and appropriate policies” while urging his compatriots to cooperate in the government’s response.
Clinical symptoms suggest the strain is responsible for an increase in cases in West Java, said the province’s medical association spokeswoman Eka Mulyana.
“In West Java, bed occupancy rates have exceeded 90 percent. Rates in some hospitals are even above 100%,” he told reporters.
“At this rate, our healthcare system is about to collapse.”
Dozens of communities in the Central Java Kudus regency were shut down after the Delta variant was detected in local test samples, causing a sudden rise in virus cases.
The increase has been blamed in part on millions of trips from this region to the entire Muslim-majority nation at the end of Ramadan last month., despite the official ban on annual migration.
The Kudus representative of the Indonesian medical association, Ahmad Ipul Syaifuddin, has said the mass movement of people has made it impossible to determine where the climb began.
“We have no idea how to track and find the first spreader of the Delta cases because the result of the sampling test came out about three weeks after the mass exodus,” he said.
“My sample was one of the samples tested for the Delta variant. Now I have recovered and (have) been negative, but I have a cough. “
Meanwhile, the Jakarta Post reported that among those recently infected with the coronavirus is an unnamed Indonesian official who was traveling to Italy for an international conference.
The officer is in quarantine for ten days after testing positive on arrival in the Sicilian port city of Catania, where officials from around the world were meeting for a series of G20 ministerial meetings.