COVID-19: New outbreak clusters in Singapore, Malaysia; Indonesia rejects cruise ship; Thailand’s new quarantine order

Nurul Azliah

While nations around the world are now consumed with their own outbreaks, containment remains elusive in East and Southeast Asia, with new clusters traced to a Malaysian firm, a private dinner in Singapore, and a Hong Kong resident who visited India. 

A total of 26 cases are now linked to one employee of Malaysian fund Khazanah Nasional after five more cases were reported yesterday. In Singapore, eight people who had dinner together have tested positive. And Hong Kong is scrambling to trace the contacts of an infected elderly woman who visited at least 12 locations after returning from India, where she is believed to have contracted the disease.

Thailand is back with a new travel order, this time requiring all arrivals from six locales – South Korea, China, Macao, Hong Kong, Italy and Iran – to isolate themselves upon arrival for two weeks.

Indonesia has refused to allow passengers to make landfall from the Norwegian-flagged Viking Sun cruise ship over coronavirus concerns. 

COVID-19 has infected nearly 100,000 people around the world, mostly in China and other major outbreaks zones in South Korea, Italy and Iran. 

Other major updates from yesterday:

  • A new cluster of infections is emerging in South Korea, Yonhap reported. Located in a city just outside of Daegu, Gyeongsan city yesterday reported 56 cases. 
  • Two Indonesian exchange students suspected of having COVID-19 in Australia caused 16 people and their families to be quarantined at their homes. 
  • A Vietnamese art curator was forced to drop out of an art fair in London over coronavirus prejudice. An Nguyen was reportedly told by the organizer that she would be “seen as carrying the virus.”
  • The United States announced it has a shortage of COVID-19 test kits.
  • A man in New Zealand contracted the virus after attending a rock concert. 
  • The World Health Organization’s director-general yesterday called out governments that are not doing enough to battle the outbreak. 
    • “This is NOT a drill NOT the time to give up NOT a time for excuses This is a time for pulling out all the stops,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

More updates from Coconuts’ newsrooms in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong:

Singapore

  • A new cluster of eight infections linked to a private dinner in Jurong has emerged, the Health Ministry said last night.
    • Five new cases were reported, bringing the total tally of cases to 117. Four of the new cases are linked to the Jurong gathering. 
    • The fifth case announced last night involved an infected passenger which caused the grounding of a Turkish Airlines flight at Changi Airport. 
      • The passenger was a 42-year-old French man working in Singapore.

Malaysia

  • Malaysia reported five new cases yesterday, bringing its total known cases to 55. 
    • All of the new cases are linked to the state fund employee, who is the 26th patient. The cluster of infections now consists of 26 cases. 

Thailand

  • Thailand’s postmen are stepping up coronavirus precautionary measures by disinfecting mail from virus-hit countries including China. Photos posted by local media show parcels sprayed with disinfectant. 

Indonesia

  • Two individuals identified as close contacts of Indonesia’s first patients are being isolated, according to local reports. 
  • The identities of Indonesia’s first two patients, including their place of residence, have reportedly been leaked to the public. Indonesian authorities are hunting for whoever was responsible.
  • Two cafes where Indonesia’s first patients had visited have been temporarily closed.
  • Indonesia yesterday rejected at least 800 people aboard a Norwegian-flagged cruise ship from disembarking in Semarang. Australia was among the places the Viking Sun ship had visited. 

Manila

  • Filipinos continue to be found ill around the world despite Manila’s insistence that only three cases have been found domestically.
  • Two foreign travelers tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting the Philippines. 
  • While only three people have been infected with the virus in the Philippines — all of them Chinese nationals — scores of Filipinos overseas have contracted the illness, the majority of them aboard the ill-fated Diamond Princess cruise ship, and the most recent, a third Filipino case in Hong Kong.
  • Australia and Taiwan meanwhile, have each reported a new case of their residents testing positive for the virus after traveling to the Philippines.
  • The country’s foreign affairs department yesterday clarified that Saudi Arabia’s temporary travel ban on Filipinos going to the mid-eastern country only covers tourists and travelers for Umrah, a Muslim pilgrimage). Filipino workers are still allowed entry to the Kingdom.

Hong Kong

  • Hong Kong authorities warned residents to avoid kissing their pets after the city confirmed its first known case of human to animal transmission. 
  • Hong Kong is also tracing who came into close contact with an infected 69-year-old woman who had visited at least aa dozen different places in the city. The woman is believed to have contracted the virus in India, where she had returned to Hong Kong from on Feb. 24.

Additional reporting Khyne Palumar.

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This article, COVID-19: New outbreak clusters in Singapore, Malaysia; Indonesia rejects cruise ship; Thailand’s new quarantine order, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!