Thousands of Indonesians are forced to sleep in hallways, tents, and cars while struggling to breathe due to COVID-19 cpmplication as they queue up for hospital beds in areas that are overloaded or may not have sufficient oxygen supply to support them.

Many others, on the other hand, consider hospitals as hopeless situations or even dangerous areas that they have stay away from due to the number of infected individuals in the medical institutions. Indonesia has recently become the new epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic, overtaking India and Brazil in the number of new infections and taking the top spot worldwide.

Coronavirus Epicenter

The country's struggle is part of a surge of the virus in Southeast Asia, which has a relatively low vaccination rate. Despite having contained the health crisis well beforehand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand are facing recent large outbreaks, forcing authorities to enforce new restrictions, including lockdown orders.

In the last month, COVID-19 infections and deaths have surged in Indonesia amid the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. Medical systems in some regions are being pushed past their limits by the coronavirus as hospitals are forced to take emergency procedures to expand their capacities, the New York Times reported.

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Bekasi Regional Public Hospital officials have ordered the construction of large tents within the surrounding area, equipped with beds that could house up to 150 people. In the country's capital Jakarta, residents are waiting in long lines to fill their oxygen tanks.

One resident, 28-year-old Nyimas Siti Nadia, has been looking for oxygen supply to support her aunt, whose family members are all infected with COVID-19. Nadia said her aunt is a doctor and noted she is afraid to go to the hospital because she is aware of the situation.

Struggling to Survive

The country with a population of about 270 million people has been recording thousands of daily COVID-19 cases and hundreds of fatalities for weeks as the Delta variant continues to spread. Social media users are uploading posts about how they have lost their loved ones to the pandemic. Excavators are digging up burial plots, and millions of residents who barely survive on daily wages struggle to isolate themselves. The vaccination rate in Indonesia is also at less than 6%, as misinformation continues to spread, CNN reported.

For five straight days through Friday, Indonesia has recorded a peak of 40,000 new infections, which is a massive jump from last month's less than 10,000. In the last 24 hours, officials have recorded 1,205 deaths. India's recent numbers dropped from a May peak of 400,000 and Brazil fell below 53,000 on Thursday.

The total tally in Indonesia has reached more than 2.7 million infections and 70,192 deaths. The lack of access to vaccines is one of the primary factors that contribute to the surging pandemic in the country. This is a stark difference to other nations who are slowly reopening as more and more people get vaccinated against the virus. In the European Union, 48% of their residents are vaccinated while 53% of Americans are inoculated, Bloomberg reported.

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