24.04.21 - 29.04.21 Sup SEAkers!
The ASEAN leaders met at the organisation's secretariat building in Jakarta [Laily Rachev/Indonesian Presidential Palace/Handout via Reuters]
This Week's News Spotlight:
Myanmar’s junta to ‘positively’ consider ASEAN suggestion on ending crisis | Strong underwater wave may have caused Indonesian submarine to sink, navy says | As Covid-19 suggest in Thailand, Prayuth faces crisis of confidence stoked by Thaksin, Clubhouse, and ‘fed-up doctors’ | Coronavirus: Philippines could face India-like surge, doctor warns, as infections pass 1 million | Singapore and Hong Kong to open travel bubble
Myanmar’s junta to ‘positively’ consider ASEAN suggestion on ending crisis - CNA
Court proceedings against pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi were postponed on Monday by the Myanmar government.
Myanmar’s junta will “[carefully consider] constructure suggestions” from ASEAN on resolving the violence triggered by the military coup on Feb 1, said the junta in a statement on Tuesday (Apr 27), four days after an ASEAN summit held in Jakarta, Indonesia that saw representatives from ten member countries discussing how to end the turmoil in Myanmar.
The meeting ended with ASEAN issuing a five-point consensus on how to manage the situation in Myanmar. The five points are as follows:
“First, there shall be immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and all parties shall exercise utmost restraint.”
“Second, constructive dialogue among all parties concerned shall commence to seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the people.”
“Third, a special envoy of the ASEAN Chair shall facilitate mediation of the dialogue process, with the assistance of the Secretary-General of ASEAN.”
“Fourth, ASEAN shall provide humanitarian assistance through the AHA Centre.”
“Fifth, the special envoy and delegation shall visit Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned.”
Strong underwater wave may have caused Indonesian submarine to sink, navy says - Straits Times
This tragedy was the first submarine disaster in Indonesia.
On Sunday (Apr 25), Indonesian authorities said that a submarine which had gone missing during naval exercises was found sunken and cracked into three parts in waters north of Bali, with all 53 crew members dead. Rescue efforts were coordinated following the discovery of the wreckage.
The cause might have been a strong underwater wave, with two senior naval officers saying that image reports showed the movement of a strong internal wave in the area where the submarine was reported missing. Internal waves, or underwater waves, are hidden completely within the ocean; if hit by such a wave, the submarine would have been dragged by the waves and sent to a quick descent.
As Covid-19 suggest in Thailand, Prayuth faces crisis of confidence stoked by Thaksin, Clubhouse, and ‘fed-up doctors’ - SCMP
Thailand’s vaccination drive is key to boosting its ailing tourism sector, with the country seeking to welcome foreign tourists to Phuket by July.
With a new wave of Covid-19 that has prompted a month-long lockdown of Thai capital Bangkok, the country’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is set to meet industry and tourism leaders to discuss how Thailand can accelerate its vaccination drive, in order to welcome travellers to Phuket by Jul 1.
However, several obstacles stand in the way of the country’s attempts to re-open its ailing tourism sector, which contributed almost 15 percent of its GDP before the COVID-19 outbreak. Among the challenges are a delay in procuring vaccines, ‘fed-up’ social media groups, and a former leader who claims that he can source Sputnik vaccines from Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Coronavirus: Philippines could face India-like surge, doctor warns, as infections pass 1 million - SCMP
On Tuesday (Apr 27), the Philippines recorded 7,204 new cases.
With the country looking to ease restrictions for travellers, such as by cutting quarantine times, and the nationwide tally of cases crossing the one million mark, medical experts are warning that the Philippines could face a spike in COVID-19 infections similar to those that have engulfed India this month.
The Philippines is now at the “same crosspoint” of approximately 10,000 cases per day that India reached when Indian authorities lifted restrictions on large gatherings, on the assumption that the virus was under control, said OCTA Research Group think tank’s Dr Rodrigo Ong. The think tank is calling for the country’s lockdown-like restrictions to be maintained so that the rate of new infections can continue to decrease, alleviating pressure on hospitals.
Singapore and Hong Kong to open travel bubble - BBC
The Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble will be the second major air route in the region to open after Australia and New Zealand resumed flights last week.
After months of delay, Singapore and Hong Kong have agreed to open a travel bubble starting from May 26. The quarantine-free travel arrangement was initially slated to start in November, but a surge of COVID-19 infections in Hong Kong caused it to be suspended until further notice.
The air travel bubble will begin with one flight a day in each direction, with a maximum of 200 passengers for the first two weeks. All passengers leaving from Hong Kong have to be vaccinated, and passengers from both cities have to take a COVID-19 test within three days of departure and again on arrival. If the seven-day moving average of unlinked community cases in either city surpasses five, the bubble will be suspended for at least to weeks.