Rising cases of Covid-19 throughout Southeast Asia, especially the more infectious Delta variant, are seeing increased curbs in a number of countries just as tourism leaders were hoping for a relaxation of curbs.
Main picture Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia credit Andy Wang on Unsplash
Thailand is seeing increasing numbers of cases, especially in Bangkok, but are pressing ahead with plans to reopen Phuket on 1st July.
Plans to reopen Phu Quoc in Vietnam later this year are also pressing ahead despite rising cases in the country.
Indonesia is on the verge of a full national lockdown and plans to welcome foreign visitors to Bali have been delayed.
Now further news is coming out of Malaysia and the Philippines as they too struggle to contain cases of coronavirus.
The tourism industry in Malaysia had been starting to hope that the end of the lockdown was near and the return of tourism, at least domestically, could restart. However continuing high numbers of Covid-19 cases have dented those hopes.
The return of international travellers looks a lot further away.
Malaysia Prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced yesterday that the nationwide lockdown will continue indefinitely until three indicators can be met:
- New daily Covid-19 cases are below 4,000
- The public health system returns to moderate levels and
- 10% of the population has been fully vaccinated.
Malaysia recorded an additional 5,218 new cases and 57 deaths.
Domestic travel is now not expected to restart until the fourth quarter of 2021 when the following conditions are expected to be able to be met:
- Less than 500 new daily cases
- 60% of the population fully vaccinated
“Meanwhile, agents will have to find ways to ‘survive’ until domestic tourism is allowed to recommence.”.Uzaidi Udanis, president, Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (MITA)
So far in Malaysia around 2 million people have received both Covid-19 doses and more than 5.2 million have received their first dose. Malaysia has a population of over 32 million meaning that around 6% of the population is so far fully inoculated.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has extended movement and business controls in Manila nd surrounding provinces until mid-July and retained strict curbs in central and southern areas (Reuters).
Infections in the Manila region have fallen since the April peak, but spies are appearing in some provinces.
The measures mean that entertainment venues, amusement parks, and contacts sports are prohibited in the Manila region and nearby provinces. Restaurants, gyms and indoor tourist attractions are allowed to operate at up to 40% capacity.
21 cities and provinces outside the Manila area remain under tighter measures to contain the virus.
The Philippines has been struggling to obtain and deliver Covid vaccines and to date just 2.5 million of the targeted 70 million, have been fully vaccinated, just 3.6%.
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