Recently, news reports warned that the health system in Timor-Leste was “in danger of collapsing” following increases in COVID-19 cases.

The delta variant of the virus has caused a large upsurge in the number of new cases. The capital Fili and the regional city of Ermera had recorded the most cases.

The national hospital in Dili was severely affected when a large number of staff tested positive to the virus. Dili was locked down, prohibiting religions services of any kind, as well as ending public transport and restricting restaurants to takeaway services only. In August the Australian government provided 300,00 vaccine doses to Timor-Leste.

Once lockdown finished in the first part of September, people began to go back to work. ATLAS’ friend and advisor Edna Ferreira said that some businesses had closed and so many people were without jobs. Those from the districts who usually went into the towns to sell their produce now face major difficulties. As more people don’t have jobs, they cannot buy as they used to, and so the farmers can’t sell their goods. Also, there are restrictions on travel which makes it far more difficult for people to get their produce to the markets.