Delta-driven COVID-19 surges worsen in parts of Asia
A number of Asian countries, especially in the southeast, reported more daily highs for COVID-19 cases, as global health officials continue their push for more equitable vaccine distribution to beat back the pandemic.
Concerns deepen about Southeast Asia
Indonesia, currently the region’s worst hot spot, continues to report about 50,000 new cases a day, and it reported a record number of deaths, with 1,449 more fatalities reported, according to Xinhua, China’s state news agency.
A few days ago Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the country, currently under a partial lockdown, may ease restrictions next week, due to a decline in cases, according to Reuters. However, epidemiologists said the fall in cases likely reflects a drop in testing from levels that are already low.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said in its weekly situation report 2 days ago that Indonesia needed strict public health measures and called for urgent steps to curb sharp rises in 13 of Indonesia’s 34 provinces.
The nonprofit aid group Save the Children yesterday warned that the worst is yet to come with Southeast Asia’s COVID-19 surge. It said the quickly spreading Delta (1617.2) variant and slow vaccine rollout have caused cases in the region to jump 37% over the past week. The group said it is “deeply concerned” about the impact on lives and livelihoods and the impact on children, who are missing school and their routine health services.
It said many parts of the region have low testing levels, so officials case count likely underestimate the true COVID level. They called for urgent actions to close the vaccine access gap between richer and poorer countries.