Indonesia is the new epicenter of COVID-19 in Asia as its number of cases surge past India


On Wednesday, Indonesian authorities reported 54, 517 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day, overtaking India as the epicenter of the pandemic in Asia. This huge surge in a country which has the fourth largest population in the world is alarming. If cases continue to rise, the situation will become unmanageable  as the country’s health care system is strained and its beds are almost fully occupied. It will not be able to handle new surges.


The highly transmitted delta variant, which was first isolated in India, has spread to more than 111 countries around the world, according to the World Health Organization. It remains the cause of the majority of cases from the U.S. to Indonesia.


Earlier, Indonesia had not implemented strict lockdown measures, nor had it made sufficient investments in contact tracing. Now, these lapses are affecting the country as cases are surging well above manageable levels. Last week, the government closed the islands of Bali and Java. Jakarta, the densely populated capital, is finally under an emergency lockdown.


CNN’s COVID-19 vaccine tracker reports that about 5.5 percent of the island nation’s population is fully vaccinated. The health ministry says that about 2 million of its residents in Jakarta, which is approximately 18 percent of its population, are fully vaccinated.


Other Asian countries are also reeling under the onslaught of the delta variant of the virus. On Wednesday, Myanmar’s ruling Junta reported that there were 7,083 new cases and 145 deaths related to COVID -19. However, experts believe that the numbers could be much higher.


On Wednesday, Malaysia’s health ministry reported 11,618 new cases, which is the largest single day total since the pandemic began. Thailand has also seen a spurt in cases.


South Korea and Japan have also seen a spike in cases. Tokyo was already placed under a state of emergency a few days ago and it will last till August, much after the Olympics Games get over. Japan has already announced that there would be no spectators at the Tokyo Olympics.


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