JAKARTA, Indonesia: Following the deaths of 60 people in hospitals needing oxygen, the Indonesian government has ordered manufacturers of oxygen and tanks to prioritize medical needs amid the growing demand from COVID-19 patients.
Indonesia is suffering one of the worst outbreaks of the Covid virus, registering 27,913 new cases just on Saturday.
The Sardjito hospital in Java issued a statement saying 63 patients died after it ran low of oxygen from Saturday until early on Sunday, when new oxygen supplies arrived.
A hospital spokesman, however, did not know whether all of the fatalities had suffered from COVID-19.
"We also hope people don't stock up on oxygen," health ministry official Siti Nadia Tarmizi said, fearing additional shortages.
The hospital said it had sought additional supplies of oxygen, however, large numbers of patients arrived at the hospital on Friday in need of oxygen.
The crisis only eased before dawn on Sunday when more oxygen was delivered to the hospital.
The ministry supervising Indonesia's COVID-19 response has ordered the oxygen industry to fill the estimated demand of 800 tonnes of oxygen per day needed for the nation's ill population.
Hospitals in Java are being left with no empty beds following the spread of the highly infectious Covid Delta variant.
In the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, the government said there are now 392 burials per day, a ten-fold increase over earlier months.
Beginning on July 6, Indonesia will not allow foreign visitors onto the island.