COVID-19: Southeast Asia readies aid relief packages in coronavirus fight

Nurul Azliah

Singapore and Indonesia joined Thailand in preparing financial aid packages to counter the effects of the coronavirus outbreak while infections in Thailand and Malaysia crossed the 1,000- and 2,000-mark respectively.

Direct assistance programs were being hashed out in both Jakarta and the Lion City as Kuala Lumpur readied even stricter enforcement measures for the second phase of lockdown to begin next week. Hong Kong is considering stricter social-distancing measures amid a backlash against its proposed ban on alcohol sales at bars and restaurants that critics say is insufficient. 

After news of Prince Charles testing positive for COVID-19, coronavirus fears have spread to Malaysian royalty, with the king and queen now in quarantine after seven palace staff members contracted the disease. 

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

Malaysia

  • Malaysia’s king and queen have been quarantined after seven palace staffers tested positive. Both monarchs have tested negative but will remain in quarantine.
  • Coronavirus cases rose to 2,031 today. The death toll jumped to 23, with two of the latest involving people who attended a Kuala Lumpur mosque gathering where hundreds took ill.
  • Defense Minister Ismail Sabri warns Malaysians today of stricter enforcement measures when the second phase of the lockdown begins next week. Procedures will be announced Saturday.
  • Malaysian ministers are expected to contribute two months of their salaries to a fund dedicated to the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

Singapore

  • Singapore has proposed a S$48 billion aid package to tackle the impact of COVID-19. It includes monthly/one-time stipends for every Singaporean as well as money for job creation and food assistance, and S$350 million for the aviation sector.
  • Two new clusters of infections have emerged at two schools – 14 cases have been linked to the PCF Sparkletots preschool in Bedok North and three at the Dover International School.
  • An Indonesian film producer had last week briefly dodged home quarantine in Singapore after failing to declare an Indonesia trip to immigration authorities. He was served the stay-home notice on Monday.

Thailand

  • Thailand reported 111 new COVID-19 cases today, hitting a grim milestone of more than 1,000 since the outbreak began.
    • Three of the new cases are healthcare workers while another 13 are linked to known clusters or who had traveled abroad.
  • A train station has been shut down for disinfection after a staff member tested positive. 
  • Human Rights Watch warned the Thai government against taking advantage of its state of emergency to prosecute critics and silence whistleblowers. This comes after a street artist was prosecuted for calling out the lack of COVID-19 screening at an airport. 

Hong Kong

  • The Hong Kong government is considering tougher measures to further enforce social distancing, which could affect more businesses, South China Morning Post reported.  
  • Coronavirus cases rose to 453 today after 43 new cases were reported, of which 29 had traveled abroad and 14 are linked to previous infections.

Philippines

  • More politicians are testing positive for COVID-19, with the latest being lawmaker Eric Yap and Senator Sonny Angara.
  • Private crematories have been urged to accept COVID-19 victims and persons suspected to have died of the disease. Industry representative Jojo Flores said today the small number of government facilities and fears over handling the deceased is leading to snags.
  • Nine doctors have died from the coronavirus in the Philippines. Cases rose to 707 today with 71 new infections. 

Indonesia

  • Small businesses as well as ride-hailing motorcycle riders are expected to receive up to US$306 in financial aid amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Two people who reportedly “ran away” from a quarantine facility while under monitoring for COVID-19 have returned. The escape had sparked online outrage.
  • An Indonesian family in Southeast Sulawesi held a wake for a deceased person who was suspected of having COVID-19, ignoring safety protocol.
  • Japanese fashion chain Uniqlo join other retailers in shutting down their stores in Indonesia.


Related:

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Singapore minister weeps while paying tribute to COVID-19 frontliners
Film producer Mike Wiluan dodged quarantine by omitting Indonesia trip: immigration
2 people under COVID-19 monitoring allegedly escaped quarantine facility in Bali

‘Don’t panic’: religious authorities call for calm as reports of ‘supernatural warning’ from Bali temple fuel local superstitions
Thailand crests a thousand COVID-19 cases with 111 more reported

MRT Alert: Station closed after staff member contracts COVID-19
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Pro-dem councillor arrested for ‘seditious intention’ after calling for justice for journo blinded by cop

Sonny Angara tests positive for COVID-19, becomes 3rd senator to contract disease
Top pediatrician Sally Gatchalian, sister of actress Ruby Rodriguez, dies from COVID-19

This article, COVID-19: Southeast Asia readies aid relief packages in coronavirus fight, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!