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COVID-19 surges accelerate in Southeast Asia

COVID-19 surges accelerate in Southeast Asia

Health officials in Indonesia and Thailand reported record daily highs for new COVID-19 infections, much of it driven by the Delta (B1617.2) variant, as the leader of the World Health Organization (WHO) today said countries have two options for pushing back: public health measures and sharing tools such as medical supplies, oxygen, and vaccine.

At a briefing today, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said no country is out of the woods yet with COVID-19 and that the Delta variant is dangerous and continue to evolve.

He called on world leaders to vaccinate at least 10% of their populations by the end of September, which would protect health workers and those most at risk, tamping down the pandemic’s acute phase.

“There is now some sharing of vaccines happening but it’s still only a trickle, which is being outpaced by variants,” Tedros said. “In those countries whose hospitals are filling up, they need vaccines and other health tools right now.”

Southeast Asia cases surge

Global health officials have feared an explosive outbreak in Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country. And today the country’s cases yesterday soared to new record levels, with nearly 25,000 reported.

Health ministry officials told the UK-based Guardian that the Delta variant is now responsible for 60% of cases, and plans are in the works to triple the country’s oxygen supplies by reallocating supplies from the commercial sector.

Elsewhere, Thailand reported a record 6,087 cases over the last day, along with a record 61 deaths, according to the Pattaya Mail.

More global headlines

  • In the United Kingdom, the number of Delta-variant infections rose 46% over the past week and currently accounts for 95% of sequenced cases, according to a weekly update from Public Health England. However, officials added that they’re not seeing a rise in hospitalizations, which they said shows the benefit of vaccination.
  • In other European developments, Portugal ordered night curfews for its COVID-19 hot spots, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said in its weekly communicable disease update that so far 7 countries have reported about 2,500 COVID cases linked to EURO 2020 soccer tournament travel and activities.
  • Australia’s New South Wales state reported 31 more cases in its latest outbreak, including 5 that don’t appear to be linked to earlier cases, prompting discussions about extending the lockdown for the capital and surrounding areas, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Federal officials announced that the country would halve its foreign arrivals, due to an overloaded quarantine hotel system, according to Reuters.
  • The global total today rose to 182,861,801 cases, and 3,958,947 people have died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

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