Asia Pacific News

COVID-19 developments remain complicated in Southeast Asia | International

Death toll from COVID-19 in the Philippines has increased to 12,423, while the number of recoveries has been 535,207.

The Southeast Asian country is working hard to control a new wave of COVID-19 outbreak after many patients in Manila and other areas were diagnosed with new variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus.

On March 5, the DOH confirmed 31 new cases suffering the variant that was first found in the UK, along with 52 new cases diagnosed with the variant first discovered in South Africa.

From the beginning of this week, the Philippines has started vaccinations among medical staff, using vaccine made by Chinese Sinovac. The country received additional 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX programme of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The country needs 3.4 million doses for 1.7 million medical staff.

Meanwhile in Thailand, the Centre for the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on March 5 confirmed 79 new cases of coronavirus infection, mostly domestic.

Of the 79 cases, 65 were reported as domestic while 14 others referred to those who had returned from abroad and tested positive for the coronavirus in the country, the CCSA report says.

Those domestic cases included 50 in Samut Sakhon province, southwest of Bangkok, the report says.

Thailand has so far confirmed 26,241 cases of infection, 23,418 of which were reported as domestic while 2,823 others referred to those who had returned from abroad and tested positive in the country.

So far, 25,641 patients have fully recovered and been released from hospitals while 515 others are currently hospitalized and 85 fatalities have been reported.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health of Laos on the day reported two new infections, raising the total cases to 47.

In Malaysia, local authorities reported two new COVID-19 cases infected with a new SARS-CoV-2 variant – the variant B.1.525 that was found in the UK, Nigeria, Denmark and Canada.

The same day, Malaysia loosen parts of restriction measures in Kuala Lumpur and some states after nine days of implementing vaccination programme. The country has reported more than 300,000 infections, including 1,153 deaths.

Indonesia on March 4 announced that it would extend the public activity restrictions (PPKM) from March 9-22, while expanding the restriction to three provinces outside Java and Bali, namely North Sumatra, East Kalimantan and South Sulawesi.

The PPKM scheme was first applied on January 11 this year and has been extended three times.

In Singapore, as of the end of March 4, more than 350,000 Singapore residents had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in Parliament said.

Speaking during the Committee of Supply (COS) debate for the Ministry of Health on March 5, Gan added that over 40,000 seniors aged 70 and above have to date received their first dose.

Currently, Singapore has allowed two COVID-19 vaccines of Pfizer (US)-BioNTech (Germany) and Moderna (US).

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