Jakarta, July 20, 2021 (Antara) - For healthy people, oxygen is everywhere, free and taken for granted.
But, for COVID-19 patients in Indonesia, medical oxygen has become a
precious and life-saving necessity amid a devastating new wave of
infections triggered by the highly infectious Delta variant.
In the latest infection spike, pneumonia and low blood oxygen levels, or hypoxaemia, have been common in patients.
COVID-19 affects patients' respiratory system and causes shortness of breath as it disturbs the function of the lungs to allow the body to absorb oxygen from the air and expel carbon dioxide.
According to the task force for COVID-19 handling, Indonesia on July 20, 2021 added 38,325 confirmed cases, bringing the total tally so far to 2,959,058.
With 29,791 daily recoveries, the total number of people recovering from the infection touched 2,323,666. Meanwhile, 1,280 people succumbed to the virus in a single day, bringing the death toll since the start of the pandemic in Indonesia on March 2, 2020 to 76,200.
To curb the infection surge, the government imposed emergency movement restrictions on the islands of Java and Bali from July 3 to July 20, 2021. With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continuing to remain high, the emergency restrictions have been extended further until July 25.
The spike in COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has led to a fivefold increase in the country's daily oxygen requirement from 400 tons to two thousand tons.
"We have reported to the cabinet that the demand for oxygen has increased very rapidly from 400 tons per day. Now it has increased to almost two thousand tons per day," Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin informed at an online press conference on July 16, 2021.
On July 5, 2021, Maritime Affairs and Investment Coordinating Minister Luhut B. Pandjaitan, in his capacity as coordinator of the emergency restrictions, said that the availability of medical oxygen cylinders matters and must be addressed immediately.