COVID-19 Report: Face masks becoming mandatory in parts of Southeast Asia

Wearing face masks has become mandatory in some parts of Southeast Asia, including part of Thailand, where people risk paying hefty fines if they are caught without them. 

Face masks have also been made compulsory for the more than 50 million Filipinos living on locked-down Luzon. 

COVID-19 is spreading to more migrant workers and the elderly in Singapore as well as Hong Kong’s cosmetology industry. The Lion City also reported the death of a 68-year-old Indonesian man and a new case involving its oldest patient yet: a 102-year-old woman.

Southeast Asia’s worst-hit country, Malaysia, is seeing some hope after the World Health Organization said today it has seen signs of the infection curve flattening as a nationwide lockdown drags on, and expects cases to peak in about two weeks. 

Stock markets throughout the region were mixed with some closing slightly up today. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.4% and the Shanghai Composite added 1.7%. Major indices on the SET in Bangkok were up slightly, as was the Singapore Exchange.

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

Singapore

  • Singapore reported its fourth death today: A 68-year-old Indonesian man who tested positive March 22. He was in Indonesia Jan. 20 to March 16 and had a history of hypertension and diabetes. 
  • The government is expected to introduce new legislation next week to force property owners to pass on property tax rebates to tenants. Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat had announced a property tax rebate of up to 100% for non-residential properties for the year in parliament. 
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 1,000 after 74 new cases were reported last night.
    • Ten were linked to a newly formed cluster of infections stemming from a senior center on 1 Thomson Lane. Among them was a 102-year-old woman. All staff members at the home are under quarantine. Visitors have been barred from all Singapore nursing homes until at least April 30.
    • A third migrant worker dormitory has been hit with multiple coronavirus cases. Three cases are now linked to the dormitory at 55 Sungei Kadut Loop. The other affected dormitories are S11 Dormitory @ Punggol with 10 cases and the Westlite Toh Guan dormitory with seven cases.
    • Another eight infections have been linked to a private residence at 25 Wilby Road. Seven cases have been linked to Hero’s pub on Circular Road in Boat Quay.

Malaysia

  • The country is undecided as to whether its lockdown will be extended further. Defense Minister Ismail Sabri said today the decision lies with the Health Ministry.
  • The World Health Organization said it has detected early signs of the infection curve flattening in the country, and expects coronavirus cases to peak by mid-April.
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 3,116 in Malaysia, with a bulk of the infections detected in Selangor state. The death toll rose to 50 people. 

Indonesia

  • A government official in West Jakarta was fired after holding his wedding despite of newly imposed social-distancing rules that prohibit mass gatherings. 
  • A nurse’s plea for the public to stay at home has gone viral after posting a photo of himself using an IV drip to boost his immune system. 
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 1,790 and the death toll to 170 today.

Thailand

  • Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha was expected to announce a nationwide curfew as part of new strict measures to combat COVID-19. The measure is expected to be in place 10pm to 4am.
  • More than 100 officers from the country’s Department of Special Investigation have been isolated after an officer at its headquarters tested positive.
  • People living in the Sakon Nakhon province risk paying up to THB20,000 (US$600) if they are caught without face masks as part of new coronavirus measures.
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 1,875 today. The death toll is at 15. 

Philippines

  • The country’s ambassador to Lebanon died of COVID-19 in Beirut this morning. Bernardita Catalla had worked for the government for nearly thirty years.
  • President Rodrigo Duterte threatened last night to kill protesters if they “challenge” the government during Luzon’s lockdown.
    • “My order for the police, the military, even to village officials, that if someone caused trouble and their lives are put in danger, ‘Shoot them dead.’ If you cause violence, I will bury you,” he said. 
  • Wearing of face masks have been made mandatory on Luzon. 
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 2,633 and the death toll to 107. 

Hong Kong

  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 802 after 37 new infections were detected today.
  • The government has been under pressure to shut down beauty and massage parlors due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the city. At least three people from the beauty industry have been infected, including two who were announced today. One of them is a beautician while the other a general salon staff. 

Yangon

  • On the heels of its first officially reported death, Myanmar’s confirmed total cases ticked up to 16. The actual number is likely much higher.

 

Related:
Indonesian man becomes fourth person to die of COVID-19 in Singapore
Photo of Indonesian nurse on IV drip goes viral as COVID-19 fight pushes healthcare workers to the limit
West Jakarta sub-precinct chief loses job over wedding party during COVID-19 pandemic
Prayuth expected to announce nationwide curfew
100+ DSI officers quarantined after 1 tests positive for COVID-19 at HQ
Wear a face mask in Samut Sakhon or pay a hefty fine
Filipino ambassador to Lebanon dies from COVID-19 complications
Nograles dismisses rumors of martial law, announces mandatory use of face masks


This article, COVID-19 Report: Face masks becoming mandatory in parts of Southeast Asia, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!