What’s Behind Mainland Southeast Asia’s Surprising Success Against COVID-19

What’s Behind Mainland Southeast Asia’s Surprising Success Against COVID-19
A man walks past a poster encouraging people to wear face masks correctly in Hanoi, Vietnam, Apr. 23, 2020 (AP photo by Hau Dinh).

With the exception of Thailand, the five countries of mainland Southeast Asia are some of the poorest in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the World Bank, Cambodia has a per capita GDP of around $1,600, while Myanmar’s is roughly $1,400. Laos and Vietnam fare only marginally better, each at around $2,500. Their political systems run the gamut from semi-democracies to authoritarian one-party states. Yet despite some initial missteps, they have all largely suppressed COVID-19, proving far more effective in addressing the pandemic than most developed countries, including the United States. Vietnam, a country of roughly 95 million people, has reported […]

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