Can Southeast Asia Fend Off the One-Two Punch of COVID-19?

A motorcycle taxi driver wearing a face mask waits for customers in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 14, 2020 (AP photo by Achmad Ibrahim).
A motorcycle taxi driver wearing a face mask waits for customers in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 14, 2020 (AP photo by Achmad Ibrahim).

Southeast Asian countries, already struggling to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, are bracing for a new surge of COVID-19 cases. Most countries in the region, with the exception of Singapore and Vietnam, had sluggish initial responses to the virus. Most also are poor or middle-income states, which lack public health systems that can effectively track and trace coronavirus patients. Malaysia now has more than 5,000 known COVID-19 cases, although the true number is probably much higher, while the Philippines and Indonesia also have more than 5,000 known cases. With minimal testing in Indonesia, the region’s most populous country, […]

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