The oxygen crisis in Bali may have spurred the regional government to finally start thinking ahead, as Governor Wayan Koster announced plans for the province to begin producing its own oxygen supply next month.
“This pandemic situation has taught us to start producing [oxygen] on our own and not be dependent on outside resources,” Koster said at a press conference yesterday.
The governor has reportedly instructed hospitals in Bali to start buying machines or generators, so that they don’t have to buy from outside sources in the future. According to Bali Health Agency Chief Ketut Suarjaya, one generator costs about IDR5 billion (US$344,481).
Bali has been relying on oxygen supply from producers in neighboring Java island, deliveries of which have been delayed due to increasing demand amid escalating COVID cases across Indonesia.
Last Thursday, patients in Bali reportedly needed over 113 tons of oxygen, but hospitals only had around 40 tons readily available, illustrating oxygen shortage that had been going on under the radar since July 14. The next day, Suarjaya admitted that Bali is facing an oxygen crisis.
Officials say that oxygen supply is taken care of for the time being, pointing to hundreds of concentrators the province received over the weekend.
“Up until now the oxygen demand in Bali has been met on time,” Koster said.
The worst might not be behind yet, however, considering that Bali has been reporting around 1,000 daily new infections in recent days, with 10,618 people currently in treatment.