Doctor in Jakarta battles to help COVID patients

Cheras Sjarfi is a 28-year-old doctor in a small public hospital in south Jakarta.

She says it was not ready for the influx of COVID-19 patients who arrived after a surge of new infections hit Indonesia.

"I can gauge how severe this pandemic is by just looking at smaller hospitals like ours. If their capacity is full, it means we are at the peak of the pandemic. Because a hospital like ours should not be handling COVID-19 patients. We weren't prepared for this situation. Instead we were only prepared for light cases or non-COVID-19 cases."

Grappling with the worst outbreak in Southeast Asia, Indonesia has reported record daily cases in seven of the past 11 days.

On Thursday (July 1), there were over 24,000 new reported infections.

The spike has made it harder to transfer severely ill patients, and city hospitals were at 93% capacity this week.

Sjarfi says her small hospital could only help patients as best as they could.

"Their condition gets worse without any ventilator, because we don't have an ICU , and the worst case is they die here."

She is now working 12-hour shifts, double the normal length, after some of her colleagues were infected despite being fully vaccinated.

Indonesian authorities have announced new curbs starting Saturday (July 3).

They include tighter restrictions on movement and air travel, a ban on restaurant dining and the closure of non-essential offices.

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