Indonesia offers free telemedicine services as hospitals filled

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Indonesia will provide telemedicine services as hospitals across the main Java island struggle to cope with a surge in coronavirus cases, the country’s health minister said on Monday.

The government is working with 11 telemedicine sites to provide medical consultation and prescriptions for people who self-isolate at home with Covid-19, Budi Gunadi Sadikin said.

“Those infected with Covid-19 but have blood saturation that is above 95 per cent, have no difficulty breathing and have no comorbidities, they can stay at home with ease and get good medical attention,” Budi said.

The government on Saturday imposed a partial lockdown across the islands of Java and Bali, effective until July 20, as the country battles an unprecedented wave of cases.

Hospitals in several cities have reported shortages of oxygen and have been forced to turn away patients as beds reached capacity.

At least 33 patients died at a hospital in the central Java city of Yogyakarta over the weekend as the facility ran out of oxygen, hospital staff said.

Indonesia has recorded more than 25,000 new cases daily in the past few days, taking the total caseload to nearly 2.3 million. The virus-related death toll stands at 60,582, after 555 new fatalities were reported on Sunday.

But experts said the real numbers are likely to be much higher because of low levels of testing and tracing.

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