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Indonesia in oxygen emergency

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On Tuesday, the United States began sending Vietnam two million doses, part of a first batch of 80 million doses that US President Joe Biden has pledged to allocate to countries struggling to tame the pandemic.

But the World Health Organization said its global appeal to fund vaccines, treatments, diagnostics and equipment was still $16.8 billion short — almost half its total needs.

Vaccines are seen as the main hope of breaking a cycle of economy-busting lockdowns in a pandemic that has killed close to four million people.

In Indonesia, a nightmarish COVID-19 wave has brought hospitals to their knees, forcing desperate families to hunt for oxygen tanks to treat the sick and dying at home.

Nearly 1,000 Indonesian medical workers have died of COVID-19, including more than a dozen who were already fully inoculated.

On Tuesday, Jakarta said about 10,000 concentrators — devices that generate oxygen — were to be shipped from nearby Singapore. Some had already been flown in on a Hercules cargo plane.

The World Health Organization’s warning about its funding shortfall comes as the gap widens between rich and poor nations in their ability to fight the pandemic, with access to vaccines woefully uneven.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus highlighted that those countries opening up again had the resources for mass vaccinations to mitigate a surge in infections. Separately, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the use of IL-6 inhibitors in addition to corticosteroids among patients with severe or critical COVID, prompted by the findings of new study. – NDTV

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