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14.05.20 - 21.05.20 Sup SEAkers!


A medical staff member wearing protective gear amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus takes the temperature of a resident while going door-to-door for health check-ups in Yangon, Myanmar on May 17, 2020.


This Week's News Spotlight:

Eateries in Brunei resume dine-in with precaution | Cambodia lifts travel ban for people from six countries | Indonesia rolls out $43b stimulus in bid to rescue economy | Laos has 3rd Fastest Mobile Internet Speed in ASEAN | Foreigners under MM2H now allowed to return to Malaysia if certified virus-free | Myanmar’s Daw Aung San Suu Kyi rejects online classes | Private sector in Philippines helps repurpose Internet cafés for students, workers | Travellers allowed to transit through Singapore Changi Airport from Jun 2 | Thailand's state of emergency set to stay | Vietnam's PM seeks for parliament's approval on lower GDP growth amid virus challenges


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Eateries in Brunei resume dine-in with precaution

With restaurants, eateries, cafes and food courts allowed to provide dine-in services, the public is reminded to take extra precautions before entering the establishments. Photo shows the BruHealth QR code displayed at an eatery


With restaurants, eateries, cafes and food courts allowed to provide dine-in services, the public is reminded to take extra precautions and practise safety before entering the establishments.


Food premises’ operators are allowed to take 30 per cent of seating capacity. A buffet is also not allowed. Temperature checks and scanning the BruHealth app QR code is a must to ensure a customer’s health status before entry.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Even for countries who have managed to contain COVID-19 very well, this will be the new normal until a vaccine is developed and distributed to the masses.


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Cambodia lifts travel ban for people from six countries

Cambodian government lifts travel ban for people from the United States, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Iran.



The government announced the lifting of the travel ban for people from six countries but they need health certificates issued by their individual country to confirm they are free of coronavirus.


To prevent imported cases from entering Cambodia, the government in March temporarily barred people from six countries from entering the Kingdom, such as the United States, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Iran.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Even without the ban, I do not think anyone will be keen on visiting Angkor Wat anytime soon.


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Indonesia rolls out $43b stimulus in bid to rescue economy

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati.


The government is rolling out a Rp 641.17 trillion (US$43 billion) economic recovery stimulus, bigger than previous allocations, to soften the impact of COVID-19 on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as well as state-owned enterprises (SOEs).


Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the “national economic recovery” program would include a strengthened social safety net, tax incentives, capital injections into SOEs and interest rate subsidies for MSMEs, among other measures.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Indonesia is still trying to keep the COVID-19 spread in check, it may have to keep the country in sustained lockdown for quite some time. This stimulus is definitely welcome, but is it sufficient to keep the economy afloat? We shall see.


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Laos has 3rd Fastest Mobile Internet Speed in ASEAN

Collated findings from the report released by OpenSignal.


Laos ranks third-fastest among ASEAN countries in terms of 4G download speed of mobile internet data and 52nd among 100 global economies.


A report released this week by OpenSignal, a British company that measures mobile user experience globally, says Laos’ average 4G download speed is 17.1 Mpbs, faster than other ASEAN countries excepting Singapore and Vietnam.


Berlin-based online travel website Tourlane named Laos as one of the most remote countries with the best Internet in 2019, while mobile network operator Unitel won the Speedtest Awards for mobile network speed during the second and third quarter of the same year.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Kudos to Laos, perhaps the government should leverage on this and spearhead the Internet of Things Initiative naionwide.


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Foreigners under MM2H now allowed to return to Malaysia if certified virus-free

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob speaks at a press conference in Putrajaya on 16 May 2020.



The government will allow Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme members who are currently stranded abroad to return home to the country starting Sunday (May 17), says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.


However, the Senior Minister (Security) said the foreigners who wanted to return to Malaysia would have to undergo Covid-19 testing at the place they were in presently and must be certified free of the virus before they were allowed to fly back in.


Upon arriving in Malaysia, they would have to be quarantined for 14 days, he added.

Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Not sure whether heading back to Malaysia is the best decision for now, there is a possibility that Malaysia will initiate lockdown again if the number of cases spiral.


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Myanmar’s Daw Aung San Suu Kyi rejects online classes

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi speaks with stakeholders on the reopening of schools during a video conferencing on May 19.


Myanmar’s de facto leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, said the country lacks the necessary infrastructure for an internet-based teaching system. She added that while some developed countries have began implementing online learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Myanmar is not ready to adopt it.


“Some students in those countries are dissatisfied about learning online,” she said in an online meeting with education officials and parents on May 19.


“University students have objected to receiving diplomas after finishing their degrees online because they felt it was not worth it, and they demanded refunds of their tuition fees,” she said.

The State Counsellor said education is not just about passing examinations, but also about learning to socialise, and teamwork.


“Online learning is too focused on education. We have to value the experience outside the classroom as well as learning in class,” she said. “In school, play is important for students because they can absorb lessons from it as well.”


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: In one of our previous post, we noted that the students were spilt half half in terms of online classes, looks like the verdict is out, online classes is a no go. We hope Myanmar will be able to resume offline lessons soon, because any more postponement poses an opportunity cost for students


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Private sector in Philippines helps repurpose Internet cafés for students, workers

DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio


Private sector partners will play a key role in transforming Internet cafés into virtual classrooms and workplaces, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Eliseo Rio said on Wednesday.


In a recent hearing of the “New Normal” Cluster of the House Defeat COVID-19 Committee (DCC), Rio revealed the agency’s plan of turning Internet cafés, which are popular hangout spaces for the youth, into online classroom hubs as well as digital offices for workers.

Rio said this will be done since a vaccine for the deadly and highly-contagious COVID-19 has yet to be developed.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: This is a great idea, this will help to alleviate the financial burden of internet cafes while students and workers without computers at home will not be left out!

Click HERE to learn more about this news!


Travellers allowed to transit through Singapore Changi Airport from Jun 2

Currently, foreign passengers are only allowed to transit through Singapore if they are on repatriation flights arranged by their governments.

Singapore will gradually allow travellers to transit through Changi Airport from Jun 2, as it prepares to ease some COVID-19 restrictions and reopen its borders.


"Stringent measures" will be put in place to ensure that the passengers remain in designated facilities in the transit area and do not mix with other passengers at the airport, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on Wednesday (May 20).

The Ministry of Health had said on Tuesday that Singapore will gradually reopen its borders with safeguards in place, to allow Singaporeans to conduct essential activities abroad and for foreigners to enter and transit through the country.

Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Singapore’s economic survival is heavily dependent on trade. Allowing transit travel is an important symbolic step, leading to a reactivation of our connectivity to the world.

Click HERE to learn more about this news!


Thailand's state of emergency set to stay

The area near the Thailand's Defence Ministry is quiet two hours after the curfew began at 10pm on April 22, 2020.



The emergency decree looks set to continue for another month as security authorities are still "not confident" about the Covid-19 situation following the easing of the lockdown since early this month, a military source says.


Their stance was revealed as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday met military top brass to address the Covid-19 outbreak that was "wreaking havoc on people from all walks of life", the source said.


The source said military chiefs are ready to act in line with the government's wishes if it decides to extend the decree. Staunch enforcement will continue until the pandemic eases off, the source said.

Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: This wait and see approach is a sensible one, with the recent easing of the lockdown, authorities must be given the power to reinstate full lockdown again if the cases increases rapidly.

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Vietnam's PM seeks for parliament's approval on lower GDP growth amid virus challenges

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc delivered to the parliament a report on the COVID-19 prevention and control efforts alongside measures and tasks to restore and develop socio-economic activities in Monday's sitting.


Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc requested yesterday morning the National Assembly (NA) approve a revised down GDP growth this year than the original target of 6.9 per cent set last year by the parliament. With coronavirus pandemic continuing its ravage to the world’s economy, the original target is looking increasingly unlikely.


Based on this success, the Government presents two scenario growths for the country in 2020.

In the more optimistic one, if Việt Nam’s important trade and investment partners start to get back on track in the third quarter this year, then the country could achieve GDP growth of 4.4-5.2 per cent against 2019. To this end, the agriculture-forestry-fishery sector grows by 2.5-2.8 per cent, the industrial and construction sector grows by 6.7-7.9 per cent, and the service sector grows by 2.8-3.6 per cent.


In the less optimal scenario, if Việt Nam’s trade and investment partners restores their economies by the final quarter this year, the country’s economy might expand only by 3.6-4.4 per cent. Accordingly, the agriculture-forestry-fishery sector grows by 2.1-2.5 per cent, the industrial and construction sector grows by 5.8-6.7 per cent, and the service sector grows by 1.8-2.8 per cent.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Vietnam has managed to control the situation very well, we wonder what their economic forecasts for the other ASEAN countries will be like?

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