COVID-19 cases surge in Philippines, Indonesia as virus spreads in Southeast Asia

·5-min read

Brunei and Cambodia, two nations with few reported infections, joined six other Southeast Asian countries in announcing new coronavirus cases since yesterday.

As the trickle of such announcements continue, it’s difficult to distinguish between those resulting from fresh outbreaks versus increased testing and detection of existing infections. Regardless, the numbers suggest existing measures are ineffective in containing spread of the coronavirus – or measuring its true extent.

Brunei announced five new cases linked to its first coronavirus patient involving a 53-year-old man. The man attended an Islamic religious gathering in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, last week before testing positive Monday in Brunei, followed by his wife and two children, a friend, and that friend’s child the next day.

Cambodia’s third case is a British woman who arrived Saturday in Kampong Cham city from Vietnam via a river cruise. Earlier, the 65-year-old tourist landed in Hanoi from London with five other British nationals on March 2 on the same flight as an infected Vietnamese socialite.

The Swiss-flagged Viking cruise ship the British woman was aboard carried at least 60 people, including 30 passengers, and has been quarantined. Test results from five other British nationals are pending.

Vietnam reported its 34th case yesterday involving a 51-year-old female citizen who was in the United States last month and transited in Qatar and Incheon, South Korea.

Malaysia reported 12 new cases yesterday, all linked to a patient who came into contact with an infected state fund employee. Twenty-five people have so far been discharged from Malaysian hospitals.

Singapore reported six new cases yesterday, including three linked to a Jurong dinner where dozens took ill, while cases in Indonesia and the Philippines rose to 27 and 33, respectively.

In Hong Kong, the number of confirmed cases rose to 121 as of Wednesday morning. One of the city’s newest cases involved the daughter of a woman who was part of a tour group to India.

Major COVID-19 updates from around the world since yesterday:

  • Coronavirus cases rose to 112 in Australia and crested 10,000 in Italy.

  • Japan reported 59 new cases Tuesday, the biggest single-day rise in cases since January.

  • There’s a new outbreak of at least 90 cases in South Korea linked to a call center.

  • Arsenal footballers who came into contact with a coronavirus patient are being isolated as a precautionary measure. The patient was Evangelos Marinakis, owner of Greek football club Olympiacos.

Updates from Coconuts’ newsrooms in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong:


  • Singapore reported six new cases yesterday pushing the country’s total to 166.

    • New cases included three linked to the private dinner in Jurong.

    • Twelve are in critical condition.

    • By midnight, all 1,631 people had reportedly disembarked from the Costa Fortuna Italian cruise ship. They were immediately taken to airports and hotels.

    • The British national who tested positive after arriving in Singapore was revealed to have visited Switzerland and the United Kingdom before staying at the Raffles Hotel in the city-state. He became case No. 154.

Hong Kong

  • Coronavirus cases rose to 121 in Hong Kong by Wednesday morning, including one new case involving the daughter of a woman who recently toured India in a group.

  • Hong Kong has also announced mandatory quarantine for arrivals from Italy, parts of France, Germany, Japan, and Spain.


  • Taiwan has confirmed 47 coronavirus cases as of this morning, with the latest two infections coming yesterday. One involved a Taiwanese man who was recently in the Netherlands for a business trip.

    • The other new case involves a relative of Taiwan’s 34th patient, who was linked to a hospital outbreak cluster.

    • Nine cases have been linked to the hospital in north Taiwan, where the 34th patient was originally admitted on Feb. 14 for low blood pressure and fatigue.

      • The 50-year-old woman also suffers from diabetes and cardiovascular disease and tested positive for COVID-19 Feb. 28.

      • Cases linked to the hospital cluster include three nurses and a member of the cleaning staff.


  • Malaysia announced 12 new cases yesterday, bringing the total number of infections to 129.

  • The new cases had come into contact with patient No. 33, a 58-year-old Malaysian man who had visited Kuching, Sarawak, for a meeting. He also attended separate meetings with an infected Khazanah Nasional employee.


  • Total coronavirus cases in Thailand stood at 53 Wednesday morning. New patients include a married couple — the wife reportedly fell ill after returning from Italy.

  • The Singaporean owner went public late last night on social media to disclose he was ill.


  • Indonesia reported eight new cases yesterday that included two individuals who contracted the disease in Jakarta.

    • Five were likely infected abroad.

  • Six people have been arrested for allegedly spreading misinformation related to the coronavirus. One was a woman who apparently claimed that a patient was being treated for COVID-19 in Surabaya.


Additional reporting Khyne Palumar.


Mapping COVID-19 in Singapore: Sick Indonesian who came for care; 36 now linked to SAFRA Jurong
Bangkok won’t host Songkran this year: City Hall
COVID-19: Indonesia confirms 8 new coronavirus infections
Government greenlights COVID-19 testing kits developed by Filipino scientists


This article, COVID-19 cases surge in Philippines, Indonesia as virus spreads in Southeast Asia, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting