Australia will rush 1,000 ventilators, 700 oxygen concentrators, 170 oxygen cylinders and 40,000 testing kits to Indonesia as the country grapples with a devastating surge in COVID-19 cases.
- The Government will draw 2.5 million AstraZeneca doses from Australia’s domestic stockpile as Indonesia’s COVID crisis worsens
- The country’s health system has been battered by the outbreak and oxygen supplies have declined to critical levels
- On Tuesday, Indonesia confirmed a new daily record of 31,189 cases with the death toll climbing to 728
The Federal Government has also promised to send Indonesia 2.5 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses this year, drawn from Australia’s domestic stockpile.
Indonesia’s government has imposed emergency restrictions across its most populous island, Java, and Bali, but so far the new rules have failed to stop the outbreak.
On Tuesday, Indonesia confirmed a new daily record of 31,189 cases with the death toll climbing to 728, and there are fears that new cases could soar to above 50,000 a day.
Those numbers likely only represent a fraction of real case numbers because of low testing rates in Indonesia.
The COVID-19 wave has battered the country’s health system, with hospitals in many capital cities, such as Jakarta and Surabaya, struggling to cope with an influx of patients.
Doctor groups in Indonesia say nearly 1,000 medical workers in the country have already died from COVID-19.
Indonesia has flown in emergency oxygen supplies from Singapore to help meet demand and senior Indonesian ministers say they’ve held talks with several other countries — including China — which might offer help.
In a statement, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she discussed the crisis with her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi on Wednesday and offered “immediate health support” from Australia.
On top of the medical supplies and testing kits, Senator Payne said Australia would also “extend rapid testing capacity, maintain existing health services and assist with emergency medical facilities” in Indonesia, although she didn’t provide any further details.
The 2.5 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses pledged by Senator Payne will be drawn from the 20 million doses Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised Australia will distribute to Pacific Island and South-East Asian nations
The government revealed yesterday that 15 million of those doses would be reserved for Pacific Island nations, which means Indonesia will get around half of the remaining doses in that stockpile.
On top of that, Australia has promised $100 million to help Indonesia’s rollout, with the bulk of that money going to UNICEF-led efforts to buy more vaccines to help plug supply gaps.
Australia has also extended a $1.5 billion loan to Indonesia to help it deal with the financial shocks caused by the pandemic.
But the federal opposition has been pressing the government to ramp up its response to the COVID-19 crisis in Indonesia and the region, accusing the Coalition of neglecting Australia’s relationship with the South-East Asian giant.
Australia has also committed $130 million to the COVAX Facility providing vaccine doses to several developing countries including Indonesia.
Labor argues that Australia’s commitment to the fund has been dwarfed by those made by other developed countries including the United Kingdom and Canada, which have both committed more than $US1 billion ($1.3 billion) to COVAX.
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