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IIndonesia has overtaken India to become the new Asian epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic as its latest wave of infections spirals out of control, writes Asia Correspondent Nicolas smith.

The Southeast Asian nation – the fourth most populous in the world with 270 million people – now has around 132 cases per million compared to 26 in India, Nikkei Asia reported. The number of daily deaths per capita averages around 3 per million, compared to less than one in India.

Indonesia’s alarming figures, fueled by the Delta variant, are already said to be vastly underestimated due to low rates of testing and contact tracing.

Every day, the official figures show new records. As of Tuesday, 47,899 new infections were reported, up from 40,427 the day before. The number of cases in India has increased from 37,154 to 32,906, although, cumulatively, its tally is still the highest in Asia.

Indonesia is currently experiencing bed and oxygen shortages similar to those seen in India during the crisis earlier this year.

Health Minister Budi Sadikin said on Tuesday that the occupancy rate of Covid-19 beds in the national capital, Jakarta, was close to 90%.

He warned the government is bracing for a scenario where cases could increase by 30% in the next two weeks and accelerate in other areas.

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