Southeast Asian governments tighten restrictions, hoping that blockade measures will be able to stop the number of infections.
Indonesia, the most populous country in Southeast Asia, is the country hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. On July 9, Indonesia recorded more than 38,000 new Covid-19 cases – 6 times more than a month ago. In just one week, the number of people who died from Covid-19 in Indonesia within 24 hours doubled compared with the first period of July 2021.
Indonesia blocked 15 new locations, hoping to prevent the health crisis. Currently, many hospitals in Indonesia are overloaded, oxygen supply is increasingly limited. Meanwhile, 4 out of 5 burial sites for Covid-19 victims in the capital Jakarta are almost full.
Thailand and Malaysia also recorded a record high number of new Covid-19 cases on July 9. Thai authorities tightened restrictions in the capital Bangkok and surrounding areas to slow the spread of the Delta variant.
Myanmar recorded an additional 63 deaths and 4,320 new infections on July 9, both figures are record highs.
Meanwhile, the number of infections and deaths in Cambodia also reached the highest level in the past 9 days.
Health experts say that job testing rates that are too low in densely populated countries like Indonesia and the Philippines run the risk of not fully representing the extent of the Covid-19 outbreak in Southeast Asia.
Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist at Griffith University in Australia, said that many countries are also paying the price for inconsistencies in anti-Pandemic strategies and regulations. This expert also emphasized that Southeast Asia needs to expand the search for vaccine supply, when many countries are largely dependent on Sinopharm’s vaccine from China.
“When dealing with a pandemic on a larger scale, it is not possible to use a single vaccine. It is necessary to diversify the source of vaccines,” Mr.
Vaccination rates in Southeast Asia remain low. Only 5.4% of Indonesia’s 270 million people have received 2 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. In the Philippines it is 2.7% and in Thailand it is 4.7%. Malaysia has just vaccinated 9.3% of its population of 32 million.
Thailand will use the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as a booster dose, while Indonesia said the Moderna vaccine batch is about to be delivered for use by medical staff.
Currently, the state of “thirsty for vaccines” mRNA is rapidly spreading throughout Thailand. One hospital said that 1,800 doses of the Moderna vaccine were fully registered within minutes of being offered for sale on e-commerce platform Shopee.
Singapore is a rare bright spot as some restrictions have been lifted. Singapore will complete vaccination for 50% of the population by the end of July 2021.