Author Topic: Coronavirus Surges Across Southeast Asia as Malaysia Warns of 'Tsunami' of Cases  (Read 2216 times)


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Coronavirus Surges Across Southeast Asia as Malaysia Warns of 'Tsunami' of Cases

March 17, 2020
U.S. News & World Report


JAKARTA/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Coronavirus infections surged across Southeast Asia on Wednesday with Indonesia's death toll jumping from five to 19 and Malaysia warning of "a tsunami" of cases if people did not follow new restrictions on movement.

The number of cases across the region has risen more than 10-fold this month to at least 1,900, driven in part by hundreds of infections stemming from a mass Muslim gathering in Malaysia just over two weeks ago.

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Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country with more than 260 million people, only announced its first two cases of the virus on March 2 despite widespread suspicions that a lack of testing concealed a bigger problem.

Its death toll jumped to the highest in the region on Wednesday, while the Philippines also recorded a rise of three fatalities to 17. Indonesia recorded its biggest daily jump in confirmed infections, by 55 to 227 cases.

Achmad Yurianto, an Indonesian health ministry official, said the number of cases was likely to rise further but authorities hoped to contain the outbreak in April.

However, Halik Malik, a spokesman for the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI), described the increase as "extraordinary" and said "management now needs to be pandemic management, it can't be half-hearted like it has been".

There has been criticism of the pace of testing in Indonesia with only 1,372 people tested by Wednesday - far below that of much smaller neighbors.

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« Last Edit: March 20, 2020, 04:51:13 AM by adroth »