July 5, 2021, 08.10 PM

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - Several hospitals in Indonesia face oxygen shortage as the Covid-19 caseload continues to climb and it is likely fueled by the spread of Delta variant.

"Covid patients are rapidly rising and demand of oxygen is very high despite the supply of medical oxygen has been increased," said a spokesman for the Covid-19 Task Force at the UNS Hospital Dr. Tonang Dwi Ardyanto on Sunday, July 4.

Not all Covid patients need oxygen, depending on their conditions. But, most of the medical oxygen is being used by the patients who contract coronavirus.

"It depends on the patient’s condition, but the Covid patients need more oxygen than non-covid patients. Especially, in the hospitals where the number of Covid-19 patients receiving treatment exceeds the number of non-Covid-19 patients," Tonang said. 

Also readCovid-19 Delta Variant Spreading Fast Among Unvaccinated

The Ministry of Health has urged the public not to stockpile medical oxygen at home.

"We call on the public not to stock up on oxygen," said the ministry's vaccination program spokeswoman Siti Nadia Tarmizi on Sunday, July 4.

She expressed hopes that the plan to import oxygen cylinders will be opened and the gas industry will prioritize the production of medical oxygen. 

Prioritizing health care needs 

In response to the oxygen shortage, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan urged relevant parties to convert oxygen supplies for industrial use to meet the medical needs and Indonesia will import medical oxygen to meet the domestic demand. 

"We will make all industrial use of oxygen to cater the need for supplying medical oxygen. The oxygen shortage will be resolved if all industrial oxygen focuses on producing pharmaceutical oxygen," state news agency Antara quoted Luhut as saying on Monday, July 5.

Also readIndonesian Doctors Association: Delta Covid-19 Strain Poses More Risks to Society

The ministry's spokesperson Jodi Mahardi explained the decision to import oxygen will be taken following its limited supply in the country. 

"The supply of our medical oxygen is limited. Therefore, the government will continue to provide and seek oxygen in various ways from the local industry and the imported products," Jodi said in the daily press briefing during emergency Covid-19 measures on Sunday, July 4.  

"We urge the public not to stockpile oxygen as our priority is to save lives at this time," Jodi added.

Meanwhile, Jakarta Administration has provided an oxygen filling station at the National Monument area in Central Jakarta. 

A spokesperson for Jakarta Provincial Secretariat Suharti said the oxygen filling station is provided for all hospitals across Jakarta. 

Also readIndonesia to Start Vaccinating Children With the Covid-19 Vaccine

"The Jakarta Administration wants to ensure that the oxygen supply at the hospitals is adequate. We are trying to collaborate with other parties to help supply oxygen by using tubes and tube filling," said Suharti on Sunday, July 4.

Suharti said the Jakarta Administration is collaborating with state firm Krakatau Steel in Cilegon, Banten to fill empty oxygen cylinders. "On Sunday, 250 oxygen gas cylinders with a capacity of six cubic meters have been refilled for 25 hospitals in Jakarta," she said, adding that the station will open during the handling of Covid-19 in the capital. 

Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous country, has seen a rapid surge in Covid-19 cases in the last two weeks. The Health Ministry recorded 27,233 new cases with 555 deaths from the virus on Sunday. The country has recorded more than 2,284,000 cases, including 60,582 deaths since the first two confirmed cases were announced in March last year. 

(Writers: Dian Erika Nugraheny, Singgih Wiryono, Nur Rohmi Aida, Mutia Fauzia| Editors: Icha Rastika, Dani Prabowo, Rendika Ferri Kurniawan, Mutia Fauzia)

Sources: Kompas.com 

 

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