Thailand and Malaysia both reported a record number of new infections Friday, while Indonesia registered its highest single-day increase in covid-related deaths.
“COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire in Southeast Asia, and the worst is still yet to come,” Yasir Arafat, a regional health and nutrition adviser for the nonprofit group Save the Children, said in a statement Thursday.
“Southeast Asia is one of the least vaccinated regions in the world,” he said, adding that “it also has an extremely low testing rate, so it’s likely that things are even worse than the data suggests.”
In Thailand, which reported more than 14,500 new cases Friday, officials in Bangkok closed down parks and other public spaces to residents, the Associated Press reported. The prime minister on Thursday ordered his government to step up the pandemic response after several dead bodies of people infected with the virus were found on the streets of the capital. The incidents prompted an outcry online.
The Philippines said Friday that it was planning to ban travelers coming from Thailand and Malaysia beginning Sunday because of the severity of the outbreaks there. Malaysia reported more than 15,500 new cases on Friday, the highest daily increase since the pandemic began.
In the Philippines, authorities announced new restrictions in the sprawling capital, Manila, and surrounding regions, including a ban on children playing outdoors.