Breaking News
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your experience. Save up to 40% More details

Southeast Asia's COVID-19 cases hit new highs, Malaysian doctors protest

Coronavirus NewsJul 26, 2021 12:08
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
4/4 © Reuters. Government medical contract doctors participate in a walkout strike at Kuala Lumpur Hospital amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia July 26, 2021. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng 2/4

By Mei Mei Chu and Artorn Pookasook

KUALA LUMPUR/BANGKOK (Reuters) -Thailand reported a record number of coronavirus infections on Monday, while neighbouring Malaysia has more than a million, as the virulent Delta variant carves a deadly path through Southeast Asia, now a global epicentre for the virus.

Thailand's 15,376 new cases were a daily high for a second consecutive day in the nation of more than 66 million.

Malaysia, which has one of Southeast Asia's highest infection rates relative to its population, passed the one-million mark on Sunday, with a record 17,045 infections, despite being under lockdown since June.

Like many parts of the region home to more than 650 million, Malaysian hospitals and medical staff have taken the brunt of the outbreak as beds, ventilators and oxygen run short.

Thousands of Malaysian contract doctors staged a walkout on Monday, but pledged patients would not be affected by the protest.

    "Almost 150 medical staff have resigned this year because they are fatigued with the current system," said a doctor at a protest in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, who gave only his first name, Muhammad.

The doctors, who want permanent postings, as well as better pay and benefits, said an offer by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to extend their contracts did not go far enough.

Malaysia has outpaced many neighbours with its vaccination campaign, however, as about 16.9% of its 32 million people have been fully inoculated.

Last week, Thailand imposed tougher lockdown measures in the capital, Bangkok, and 12 high-risk provinces, suspending most domestic fights and widening the areas subjected to curfews.

The government has faced public criticism over the pace of its vaccination rollout, with only 5.6% of the population fully inoculated.

"I believe that the virus can be eliminated from the country if everyone is vaccinated," said 48-year-old Charn, who was accompanying an elderly relative getting a vaccine dose at a Bangkok train station and declined to give his full name.


Indonesia, Southeast Asia's most populous nation, with more than 270 million people, also has its biggest caseload. It has reported more than 3.1 million infections and 83,000 deaths.

Still this week it said that although curbs would be extended by a week, some measures would be relaxed, allowing traditional markets and restaurants with outdoor areas to re-open.

Hospitals have been filled with patients in the past month, particularly on the densely populated island of Java and in Bali, but on Sunday President Joko Widodo said infections and hospital occupancy had declined, without giving specifics.

"The decision doesn't seem to be related to the pandemic, but to economics," said Pandu Riono, an epidemiologist at the University of Indonesia, urging people to follow health protocols.

Indonesia's death toll set records on four days last week, culminating in 1,566 on Friday, as authorities pledged to add more intensive care units.

After having reined in the virus for much of the pandemic, Vietnam has faced a renewed outbreak, with southern business hub Ho Chi Minh City and surrounding provinces accounting for most new infections.

Since June, infections have surged in Myanmar, already in turmoil after February's military coup. Sunday's 355 deaths were a record, while daily cases topped 6,000 last Thursday.

In the Philippines, authorities have been scrambling to curb the spread of the Delta variant.

Infections have recently started to rise and authorities this week suspended travel from Malaysia and Thailand, as well as tightening curbs in the area around the capital, Manila.

Southeast Asia's COVID-19 cases hit new highs, Malaysian doctors protest

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email