Indonesia has had more than 3 million coronavirus infections and at least 82,000 deaths with the Delta variant-driven spread showing no sign of slowing.

A medical worker pulls an oxygen cylinder to be delivered to the emergency ward at a government-run hospital amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, July 23, 2021.
A medical worker pulls an oxygen cylinder to be delivered to the emergency ward at a government-run hospital amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, July 23, 2021. (Reuters)

Indonesia has prepared more intensive care units after logging several days of record-high Covid-19 deaths last week, while the country waits to see whether the government will extend or loosen tough restrictions due to expire on Sunday.

Buckling under a Delta variant-driven wave of the virus, Indonesia has become Asia's Covid-19 epicentre with hospitals deluged, particularly on the densely populated island of Java.

"Deaths have risen due to a number of factors: full hospitals, patients admitted with low saturation, or dying unmonitored in self-isolation," Senior Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said in a statement late on Saturday.

Luhut, who oversees the Covid response on the islands of Java and Bali, said ICU capacities would be added in areas that have reported the highest fatalities.

READ MORE: Indonesia ramps up oxygen supply after Covid-19 patients die amid outage

Bali faces 'oxygen crisis'

The Indonesian island of Bali is running out of oxygen for its Covid-19 patients as infections surge, the chief of its health agency said.

Bali, famous for its tourist beaches and temples, along with the main island of Java and 15 other regions are under tight coronavirus restrictions, due to expire on Sunday. The government is debating whether to extend them or not.

"We've had an oxygen shortage since July 14 and it's getting critical by the day because of a surge in new cases," Ketut Suarjaya, the head of Bali's health agency, said as quoted by Antara state news agency as saying on Friday.

"There's an oxygen crisis in Bali."

Suarjaya said patients in Bali needed 113.3 tonnes of oxygen on Thursday, while hospitals only had 40.5 tonnes. He was not immediately available for comment on Saturday.

Oxygen shortages have also been seen on Java. The government has begun to import oxygen supplies from countries such as the United States and China. 

READ MORE: Indonesia imposes tougher curbs as Delta variant drives infection wave

Experts say deaths, cases undercounted

Indonesia last week reported record-high deaths on four separate days, the last of which was Friday's 1,566 fatalities, bringing cumulative deaths to more than 82,000.

Total case infections have climbed to over 3.1 million, though health experts say both deaths and case numbers have been undercounted.

Just under 7 percent of its population of 270 million has been fully vaccinated, with Southeast Asia's largest country primarily reliant on shots produced by China's Sinovac Biotech.

Research organisation Our World in Data said the country had a death rate three times higher than the global average.

The debate over whether to loosen restrictions has pitted health experts, who say it is premature to ease curbs during a surge of infections, against employer groups that have warned of mass layoffs unless the curbs are relaxed.

The government is due to hold a news conference later on Sunday but has not set a time.

READ MORE: Indonesian health system struggles amid surge in Covid-19 cases

Source: TRTWorld and agencies