According to the data of Johns Hopkins University, the total number of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia on 19th April is 28,000, and those of Indonesia, The Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore account for 87.9%.
While this number is still much lower than that of America and some European countries, research shows that tens of thousands of new cases might remain undiscovered at the moment due to the low testing rate in countries like Indonesia and the Philippines.
Meanwhile, in Singapore, the newly-infected cases discovered in narrow houses for immigrant workers are instilling fear in people. Singapore, which used to be praised as the effective epidemic prevention model, has officially fallen.
“The truth is that the number of cases is skyrocketing in Southeast Asia. People need to implement more testing in the Philippines and Indonesia where the number of the tested cases is extremely low”, said Simon Tay, the President of an international research fund headquartered in Singapore. Currently, the testing of the virus in Southeast Asia varies significantly.
Singapore is at the top spot with 16,203 tested cases per 1 million people. Meanwhile, Myanmar stands at the bottom of the chart with 85 tested cases per 1 million people. However, the thing that people concern the most about is that an epidemic outbreak might happen in Indonesia and The Philippines due to their high population.
Indonesia is the 4th most populous nation in the world with a population of 270 million. At the moment, there have only been 43,000 tested cases, which means that the testing rate is only 254/1 million, which is one of the lowest rates regionally and internationally.
Indonesian authorities have set a goal of implementing 10,000 tests per day and estimates that the actual infected number might be up to 95,000 once widespread testing is implemented.
Being the biggest economy in South East Asia, Indonesia discovered the first case in March, which surprised experts. It seems that President Jokowi has prioritized economic protection over virus infection prevention.
Meanwhile, Singapore and Malaysia had their first infected cases in January, with some cases of people being infected after traveling to Indonesia.
In addition to the delay in testing, the Joko Widodo’s administration, commonly known as Jokowi, has been criticized for not issuing a national lockdown as well as a travel ban.
However, the President has allowed some localities to implement lockdown, including Jakarta. Millions of Indonesian returning home after the vegan month Ramada of Islam, which tends to end with a major party with multiple participants, can increase the infection risks.
Several experts concern that the number of infected cases may reach 1 million in Java isle in July. In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the purchase of 900,000 testing kits in addition to the 100,000 used kits.
The government is implementing strict lockdown measures. However, their model shows that 75% of the infected cases, which is equivalent to 15,000 people, remain unidentified.
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