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Indonesia at record high but less severe, fewer deaths

JAKARTA, INDONESIA (AP) – Indonesia’s confirmed coronavirus infections since the pandemic began crossed five million on Thursday, the highest in Southeast Asia, but the related deaths and bed occupancy fuelled by the highly transmissible Omicron variant remained lower than in the previous outbreak.

Since Tuesday, daily COVID-19 cases have outpaced July’s record that had overwhelmed hospitals on the main island of Java, hitting 63,956 on Thursday.

The Health Ministry also reported 206 deaths compared to more than 2,000 a day at the peak of the surge last year. Data showed the bed occupancy rate at 33 per cent, and 25 per cent for intensive case units.

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has said that cases and deaths are expected to increase further but hospitals are unlikely to overflow again because Omicron generally causes less severe symptoms.

The government was equipping hospitals with more beds, and Jakarta continues to be the hardest hit in Indonesia.

Bed occupancy rates at 140 coronavirus hospitals in the city rose from five per cent in early January to 59 per cent on Thursday.

Workers in protective suits carry a coffin containing the body of a coronavirus victim during a burial. PHOTO: AP