COVID-19 updates: Laos, Myanmar only in ASEAN reporting no infections

Nurul Azliah

Laos and Myanmar are so far the only ASEAN countries that have yet to report a single coronavirus case since the outbreak emerged nearly two months ago, while its neighbors such as Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia are scrambling to contain the disease.

Coronavirus cases more than tripled in Malaysia since Friday as infections linked to a mass Islamic religious gathering emerged. Cambodia, Brunei, and Singapore have reported new cases linked to the same event.

The Philippines reported seven new deaths and locked down two more cities, while Indonesia has urged citizens to work from home as cases surpass 100. Reported infections also surged in Thailand, where at least 114 people have contracted COVID-19. 

However, Myanmar has canceled next month’s New Year’s celebrations and shops have been cleared out by shoppers unconvinced by the government’s insistence the virus hasn’t penetrated its borders. Meanwhile people are awaiting the test results of a man who recently visited France and came into contact with a Filipino who later tested positive, the Khmer Times reported. 

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

Manila

  • Seven more deaths were reported in the Philippines over the weekend as the number of known infections rose to 140. 
    • Among those who died was a 56-year-old Filipino who was hospitalized March 7 before he died Sunday.
    • New cases involve a 13-year-old girl from Quezon City, the youngest Filipino patient so far.
  • A group of 444 Filipinos previously stranded on a virus-hit cruise ship in California returned to the Philippines today.
    • MV Grand Princess was anchored off San Francisco from March 4 after a previous passenger tested positive and subsequently died, becoming California’s first coronavirus death.
    • The Filipinos who returned today comprise 438 crewmembers and six passengers.
  • Two Philippine cities have also been put on lockdown despite having no reported cases of COVID-19. Cebu and Davao City have been under “community quarantine” since Sunday. 
  • The entire Metro Manila has been put on lockdown for a month since March 12 in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19. 

Malaysia

  • Coronavirus cases in Malaysia rose to 553 today after Malaysia reported 125 new infections, of which 95 are linked to the mass Islamic religious gathering in Masjid Jamek Seri Petaling in Selangor state. 
    • This adds up to 172 cases, after Malaysia on Saturday reported that 77 people from the same gathering had tested positive.
  • At least 12 of Malaysia’s COVID-19 patients are in critical condition.
  • The Islamic religious gathering took place Feb. 27 to March 1. 
    • On Saturday, Malaysia said it identified 4,942 citizens who attended the event, of which 2,932 were ordered to quarantine themselves at home for two weeks.
      • Around 1,600 showed symptoms and their samples have been taken for COVID-19 testing.

According to a graphic released by the Health Ministry on Saturday, most of the people infected from the gathering tested positive in Sabah.


Singapore

  • Coronavirus cases rise to 226 in Singapore over the weekend, involving mostly people who had contracted the disease overseas.
    • This prompted Singapore to tighten travel restrictions further. By midnight,  all travelers arriving from any ASEAN country, Japan, Switzerland or the United Kingdom will be ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days. 
    • Five Singaporeans who attended the mass Islamic religious gathering in Malaysia have tested positive in Singapore. 
      • Singapore today extended the closure of mosques islandwide by nine days.
    • The cluster of infections linked to a private dinner in Jurong has risen to 47. 

Hong Kong

  • Coronavirus cases rose to 156 Monday afternoon with new infections involving mostly people who traveled to various parts of Europe. 
    • The government has issued a “red” alert against travel to Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Indonesia

  • President Joko Widodo on Sunday urged citizens to work from home and practice social distancing amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Cuts to public transportation services as part of the government’s push for citizens to work from home backfired this morning after large crowds of commuters swamped buses and trains. 
  • Indonesia’s transport minister is reportedly recovering from the coronavirus after testing positive. Budi Karya is Indonesia’s 76th patient and was active in the evacuation of Indonesians from virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan. But it’s not clear when he became infected.
  • Indonesian tourist attractions Borobudur and Prambanan temples have been closed to the public till March 29.

Brunei

  • Coronavirus cases rose to 50 over the weekend, with at least 20 new cases linked to the mass Islamic religious gathering in Malaysia. 

Cambodia

  • Cambodia has reported 12 coronavirus cases as of Monday morning. 
    • New patients include a four-month-old baby of an infected French national in Singapore.
    • A Cambodian who was recently in France.
    • Two Cambodians who attended the Islamic religious gathering in Malaysia. Cambodia is tracing more citizens from the same event.
  • Cambodia has banned tourist arrivals for Iran, the United States, and Europe’s major outbreak centers.

Vietnam

  • Vietnam reportedly rejected four river cruises from Cambodia to dock in the country. 
    • Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered his officials to persuade Vietnamese officials to allow the ships to dock in their waters.
  • Wearing masks in public places is now compulsory in Vietnam.
  • All those arriving in Vietnam from virus-stricken countries will undergo compulsory COVID-19 testing. 
  • More foreign nationals are testing positive in Vietnam, where cases have risen to 57. They include people from Latvia, Germany, and the UK. 

Taiwan

  • Taiwan reported six more cases yesterday, bringing the total number of infections to 59.
    • One of them is a man who traveled to Thailand and Japan. Others had traveled to Egypt, Turkey, Spain, and Greece. 

Thailand

  • Thailand reported 32 new cases over the weekend, pushing the total number of infections to 114.
    • More members of the public have also outed themselves having been infected with COVID-19.
    • New cases include two people who came into contact with the infected Singaporean expat who runs a restaurant in Bangkok.

 

Related:

Coronavirus cases crest 200 in Singapore; 27 imported infections over the weekend (map)
Dead foreigner found in Denpasar not killed by coronavirus, police say
Infection tally surges as more Thais take reporting into their own hands
More than 400 Filipinos return home from coronavirus-struck cruise ship MV Grand Princess
Filipina chemist in Quezon City makes disinfectant alcohol to give away for free
Jakarta public transportation facilities inundated as reduced operations policy backfires


This article, COVID-19 updates: Laos, Myanmar only in ASEAN reporting no infections, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!