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07.05.21 - 13.05.21 Sup SEAkers!






People will only be allowed out in groups of two from this Sunday (May 16) until June 13, with dining-in prohibited ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE


This Week's News Spotlight:

Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia hit COVID-19 variants with iron fist | Malaysia declares nationwide lockdown as COVID-19 cases spike | ‘This is too sad’: Virus stifles Eid celebrations for Asia’s Muslims | Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport closed after outbreak, along with terminal buildings | Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi to appear in court on May 24: Lawyer


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Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia hit COVID-19 variants with iron fist - Nikkei Asia





The spread of COVID-19 variants from the United Kingdom and India have spurred some countries to tighten restrictions in a bid to contain these variants.


Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, which boasted early COVID-19 success stories, are now enacting stricter measures in attempts to prevent the spread of more virulent variants.


On May 1, Thailand issued a nationwide mask mandate and banned dining in restaurants in Bangkok, as well as in other places. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha also assumed ministerial powers granted by 31 laws, with the intention of consolidating authority to contain the virus’ spread, though critics are accusing him of using COVID-19 to establish a dictatorship.


In Vietnam, mandatory quarantine for those arriving in the country was extended from 14 days to 21 days after local transmissions of the Indian variant were confirmed. Citizens living overseas have also been discouraged from returning for fear of carrying variants with them.


Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh and nearby Takmao also went into citywide lockdowns in mid-April. Before late February, Cambodia had 500 cases; by late April, the number spiked to 10,000. The government is deporting foreigners who violate quarantines, preventing re-entry, and penalizing Cambodians who violate stay-at-home orders.





Malaysia declares nationwide lockdown as COVID-19 cases spike - Reuters






In recent weeks, Malaysia has reported a spike in COVID-19 cases, with 3,807 new cases on Monday.


Malaysia imposed a nationwide lockdown on 10 May amidst a third wave of COVID-19 cases and a spread of more infectious variants, just ahead of the week’s Eid al-Fitr festival. All inter-state and inter-district travel, as well as social gatherings, will be banned. Educational institutions will be shut but economic sectors allowed to continue. This marks the second year that millions of Malaysians will have to forgo the tradition of returning to their hometowns at the end of Ramadan.





‘This is too sad’: Virus stifles Eid celebrations for Asia’s Muslims - SCMP






For the second year, Indonesians and Malaysians were banned from travelling to visit relatives in the traditional Eid homecoming.


Across Asia, Muslims celebrate Eid ul-Fitr in a subdued manner for the second year, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing mosque closures and family separations.


In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, prayers were allowed inside low-risk areas, but mosques in areas with higher risk of the virus spreading were closed, including Jakarta’s Istiqlal Grand Mosque, the largest in Southeast Asia.






Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport closed after outbreak, along with terminal buildings - SCMP







Changi Airport remains open for air travel, with passengers allowed to be dropped off and picked up from the airport, but non-passengers will not be allowed entry during the temporary closure.


Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport and all passenger terminal buildings will be closed to the public for 14 days starting from 13 May, amidst a growing COVID-19 cluster linked to a cleaner who was deployed to Terminal 3. The temporary closure and restricted entry to the airport is a precaution, stated the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Changi Airport Group, while workers stationed there are undergoing testing.


The airport is the seventh busiest in the world. In 2019, Jewel was built, a ten-storey complex anchored by a gleaming, dome-shaped glass structure with the world’s tallest indoor waterfall standing at 40 metres high.





Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi to appear in court on May 24: Lawyer - CNA






Since the 1 Feb military coup, Aung San Suu Kyi has not been seen in public.


After weeks of delay, a judge on 10 May ordered Myanmar’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi to appear in court for the first time. The 75-year-old leader has not been publicly seen since being detained after the military coup and is slated to appear in court in person on 24 May. After being ousted, she was hit with a series of charges that include flouting COVID-19 restrictions during last year’s election campaign, possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies, and violating the country’s colonial-era Official Secrets Act.




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