The Delta variant of Covid-19 is sweeping through much of Southeast Asia, with many countries reporting record outbreaks and increasing restrictions.
Main picture Indonesia countryside credit Dikaseva on Unsplash
Even as countries start to announce, in some cases tentatively, tourism initiatives, the likelihood of many of them actually coming to fruition, at least in the suggested time-frame, look slim.
The availability of vaccines, and issues with the roll-out in some countries, is also a major factor in curbing outbreaks and the opening of borders.
We look at a number of countries within the region and the prospects of the return of foreign tourism.
A senior minister in Indonesia has said that the country is already grappling with a “worst-case scenario” COVID-19 situation, warning that cases are likely to increase even more as the Delta variant continues to spread.
The country recorded a further 56,757 cases and 982 deaths today, there have now been 2.7 million cases and 70,192 deaths. The vaccine process is also very slow with just 5.8% of the populations so far fully vaccinated in a population of 270 million people.
Indonesia had hoped that holiday hotspot Bali would be able to reopen this month but any opening looks far away as the country is warning that daily cases could rise to 100,000 per day.
Hospitals in Indonesia’s most populated Java island have been deluged in recent weeks, with many people struggling to get treatment and hundreds dying while self-isolating.
Malaysia has started to look at the possibility or reopening Langkawi to foreign tourists but is also battling record numbers of infections.
A record 13,215 cases were reported today together with 110 cases to give totals of 880,782 cases and 6,613 deaths. It is the fifth day in the last seven that has seen a record number of cases recorded.
Malaysia is currently in a full lockdown but is hoping to be able to reopen Langkawi to fully vaccinated tourists from October, followed by others areas as they achieve vaccination targets.
Not only struggling with a Covid-19 outbreak but also with the aftermath or the coup earlier this year, Myanmar is unlikely to welcome back foreign tourists anytime soon.
Myanmar yesterday reported record numbers of coronavirus cases (7,089) and deaths (145) on Wednesday, as it suffers its most severe wave of infections so far.
The country has so far reported 208,357 cases and 4,181 deaths.
Singapore has been working on a number of travel bubbles and corridors but earlier this week had to further delay plans with Australia and Hong Kong.
Yesterday they reported the highest number of local coronavirus cases in 10 months after the discovery of a cluster among hostesses and customers of KTV karaoke lounges.
As of today Singapore has reported 62,852 cases and 36 deaths from Covid-19.
The country has an ambitious plan to reopen much of the rest of the country by the end of the year.
It is looking increasingly unlikely that they will be able to meet this schedule however due the latest outbreak which is hitting the country especially in Bangkok and surrounding provinces.
Officials have confirmed that reopening plans may need to be delayed but have emphasised the importance of Bangkok reopening before the end of the year.
The country today reported a record 98 deaths and 9,186 new cases. The country has now recorded 3,032 deaths and 372,215 cases, the majority in the current outbreak.
Struggling with its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic, Vietnam still has plans being prepared for the reopening of parts of the country in a similar way as seen in Thailand.
Phu Quoc has just started a vaccination programme to prepare for a reopening from October.
Elsewhere the situation continues to be of concern with outbreaks throughout the country and restrictions changing regularly in some areas.
Vietnam today reported 805 new cases to take the total for the pandemic to 38,239 with 138 deaths.
Source: Reuters & CNA
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