A further rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths has alarmed countries in Asia and Oceania, as well as Russia, which have resumed restrictive measures in an attempt to contain the spread of the delta variant, the most common strain. contagious disease identified in India.
One of the hardest hit countries is Indonesia, which is going through the worst time of the pandemic. On Monday (28), the country recorded a moving average of 18,800 cases, more than the previous peak of 12,800 cases on February 1. The death toll keeps pace with growth, with a moving average of 372 deaths on Monday, the highest on record since the start of the pandemic, according to data from Our World in Data.
By contrast, by that second, 10% of the country’s 270 million people had received at least the first dose of the vaccine, and only 4.8% had received both.
The outbreak prompted the Red Cross to warn of a coronavirus “disaster” in Southeast Asia’s largest country. The new wave has filled hospitals in the capital Jakarta, which face oxygen shortages, are refusing patients and recorded a 93% occupation of isolation beds on Sunday (27).
“Hospitals are full due to the high number of cases caused by travel and reduced adherence to health protocols, also made worse by the delta variant,” said Siti Nadia Tarmizi, senior official at the Indonesian Ministry of Health.
Sulung Mulia Putra, an official with the Jakarta health agency, said the oxygen shortage in hospitals was temporary and was due to the resolution of distribution issues.
Due to the difficulty of getting treatment, some people have tried purchasing oxygen tanks for family members who stay at home, but finding them has not been an easy task. Taufik Hidayat, 51, told Reuters news agency he was waiting to fill the oxygen tank for his wife and son, who tested positive for Covid. “I looked, and everything was complete.” Demand has also boosted the price from $ 50 to $ 140, according to vendors.
Also in Asia, Bangladesh is another country heading for a new peak, shortly after the previous one, recorded in April of this year. The rapidly growing moving average of cases on Monday was 5,781, to nearly 7,000 on April 9. The number of deaths is also close to that observed in the previous epidemic, with a moving average of 93 deaths on Monday, nearly 100 on April 22.
“The delta variant is taking over,” said Robed Amin, spokesperson for the Department of Health, according to the New York Times. He added that tests show the Indian strain is responsible for 60% of new cases.
The percentage of people vaccinated is very low and there has been no progress since May 19. Only 3.54% of Bangladesh’s 163 million people took the first dose, while 2.6% took both. Faced with the situation, the country’s military are preparing to patrol the streets and enforce the order to stay at home.
Restrictive measures also returned to Australia, which showed a slight increase in infections, but fear of the delta variant led to the imposition of lockdowns in three major cities and different measures in several others, affecting around 80% of people. 25 million inhabitants of the region.
The country has a low moving average of cases, with 1 infection recorded on Monday and no deaths. Yet states have gone on high alert. In the north, Queensland has imposed a three-day lockdown in the capital, Brisbane and surrounding areas, while Perth (Western Australia) will have a four-day lockdown. Both started on Tuesday (29).
“The risk is real and we need to act quickly, be firm and swift,” Queensland Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said. State has registered two new local cases
Sydney, where a fifth of Australians live, will be on lockdown until July 9. Australia’s main city records an outbreak with 150 new cases, two weeks after a foreign airline crew limousine driver was infected.
The low vaccination rate in Australia is also a concern. “If we get a very high vaccination rate, it is a complete game-changer,” Hassan Vally, associate professor of epidemiology at La Trobe University in Melbourne, told The New York Times.
With 24.1% of the population having received at least one dose and 4.8% both, he said that, in a way, the current scenario comes as no surprise.
The concern comes after months the country has all but eradicated the virus, which has led to a travel corridor with neighboring New Zealand suspended due to new outbreaks.
Travel restrictions have also been imposed on Hong Kong, which has again banned flights from the UK due to the impact of the delta variant in the European country. There, the moving average of cases has nearly increased six-fold in the past month, from 2,829 infections on May 28 to 16,404 on Monday.
Hong Kong officials have said several cases of variants imported from the UK have been discovered in recent days. Despite a still low moving average of 4 infections recorded on Monday, this number has been increasing for ten days. The semi-autonomous territory is also making progress in terms of vaccination, with 29% of the population having received at least one dose and 19.1% both.
The variant is also of great concern in Russia, which recorded its highest moving average death rate on Monday, with 575 deaths recorded – the previous highest figure of 554 deaths was on December 30. The number of cases is also on the rise, and the moving average of infections on Monday was 19,400, even below the previous peak of 28,500 on December 26.
In addition to the delta variant, authorities attribute the growth to slow vaccination. Despite the start of the controversial development of Sputnik V, Russia applied the first dose to 14.9% of its 144 million people and both to 11.6%.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin told Russian news agency Tass that the pandemic situation in the Russian capital remains extremely difficult. “Last week, we broke new records for the number of hospitalizations, people [internadas] in intensive care and deaths from the coronavirus. “
On Monday, the measure came into force in the city which only allows people who have been vaccinated or those with a negative Covid test to go to cafes and restaurants. The others can be served on the terraces and balconies.