Delta Variant Engulfs Southeast Asia Regions Recording a Surge in Fatalities

Story Highlights
  • South East Asia forms the new hotspot, witnessing fast spread of the virus
  • So far SE Asian countries have vaccinated only 9 percent of the population of their region
  • Singapore, imposes curbs to seize the spread and paces up vaccine roll out

World: Southeast Asia is emerging as a battlefield for being one of the world’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks. Experts claim that this fast-spreading Delta variant and the delayed rollout of vaccines are the major reasons behind the surge.

With almost double the population of the US, the outbreak has overtaken previously hard-hit places like Latin America and India, with cases jumping 41 per cent over the past week to more than a half-million, reports sources. The death toll witnessed a striking spurt recording a 39 percent rise in seven days through 14 July. This has been flagged as the fastest rise so far globally.

Meanwhile, South East Asia vaccination roll out recorded at 9 percent lagged the vaccination roll of developed regions like Western Europe and North America – where more than half the population has received shots – and outpaces only Africa and Central Asia.

As large parts of the developed world reopen for business, the worsening situation across most of South-east Asia means they are reimposing growth-sapping movement curbs. However, Singapore amongst the South East Asian seems to prove an exclusion that has sealed its borders and paced its vaccination roll out keeping the virus contained in the region’s sole developed economy.

Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, surpassed India in new daily cases this week, cementing its position as a new Asian virus epicenter, while several of its neighbors are also seeing record case numbers.

Southeast Asia has been buoyed by strong global demand for exports, particularly electronics, as the pandemic exhausted traditional drivers such as consumption and tourism. That external demand could change, however, auguring further pain for the region amidst the rising cases.

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