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The 5 worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Asia and Southeast Asia

New hotspots have emerged in Asia and Southeast Asia. Here’s what’s going on in the region

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Indonesia and two other Southeast Asian nations have surpassed India’s peak per capita death rate.

People queue up to refill their oxygen tanks at a filling station in Jakarta, Indonesia, on July 5, 2021.

Dita Alangkara, Associated Press

Rising cases, surging variants and renewed restrictions continue to show that the coronavirus pandemic is not over. The recent surge in outbreaks has hit Asia and Southeast Asia particularly hard, reported The Associated Press.

  • On Wednesday, the top three single-day death tolls in the world all came from Asian countries, according to data from the World Health Organization.
  • Political developments in multiple countries have complicated already difficult COVID-19 response efforts, per the AP.

Here’s what’s going on with coronavirus in the region.

5. Thailand’s COVID-19 outbreak

For weeks, Thailand has been suffering from one of the worst outbreaks in the world. In early July, the health care system had already begun to buckle under the increasing demand, reported the Deseret News.

  • The country’s surge has continued pushing cases and deaths to new highs almost daily, reported Channel News Asia.
  • Thursday, Thailand reported 13,655 new cases — a record number of new COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row, per Channel News Asia.
  • Cases have increased by 83% the last week, according to data from The New York Times.

Thailand’s recent wave of outbreaks has been driven by the delta variant coupled with low vaccination rates and lockdown restrictions that were too little too late, reported the Deseret News.

  • Only 16% of Thailand’s population of 69 million have received one dose, reported Channel News Asia.
  • “I apologize to the people that the National Vaccine Institute has not managed to procure a sufficient amount of vaccines appropriate for the situation,” said Nakorn Premsri, head of National Vaccine Institute, on Wednesday per Channel News Asia.

To manage COVID-19 in the short term, Thailand has expanded lockdown restrictions. To manage the virus in the long term, the country has officially begun the process of joining COVAX, the U.N.-backed vaccine distribution initiative, reported Channel News Asia. Until now, Thailand was the only Southeast Asian country that had not joined the initiative.

4. India’s COVID-19 outbreak

In absolute numbers, India is still experiencing one of the world’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks. The country has continued to report some of the highest daily case numbers and daily fatalities, according to WHO data.

  • On Wednesday, India reported the highest single-day death toll in the world — 3,998 new COVID-19 deaths — and the second-highest number of new cases — 42,015 new cases — according to data from the WHO.
  • By official numbers, more than 31.2 million people have been infected and 418,000 people have died from COVID-19 in India, per data from the WHO.
  • According to a recent study on virus fatalities in India, anywhere from 3 million to 4.7 million deaths have gone uncounted, reported the Deseret News.

While India’s case numbers and deaths remain high in absolute numbers, the country has seen a 9% decrease in cases over the last week, according to New York Times data.

3. Russia’s COVID-19 outbreak

Russia is currently experiencing a new surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the delta variant, according to Reuters. The country has also found isolated cases of the gamma variant which originated in Brazil.

  • On Wednesday, Russia reported the world’s third-highest death toll, per WHO data.
  • On Thursday, the country recorded 796 new deaths, a new record for single-day deaths, reported The Moscow Times.

This week, Russia saw a 3% increase in cases and reached an average of 24,221 new daily cases, according to data from The New York Times.

2. Myanmar’s COVID-19 outbreak

Myanmar is currently experiencing its worst wave of coronavirus yet, reported CNN. The recent surge has been driven by the delta variant, low vaccinations and collapsed health care system. Ongoing political tension and deep distrust between the public and the ruling military junta — which took power in February’s coup — has made a bad situation even worse, per CNN.

  • COVID-19 cases in Myanmar increased by 105% over the last week, according to data from The New York Times.
  • The country has a daily average of 5,472 new cases, per New York Times data.

Reports on the ground have described the current wave of cases and deaths as even more devastating, per the AP. Oxygen supplies have been running increasingly low. Hundreds of doctors and other medical professionals — many of whom led or participated in anti-military protests — have been attacked or arrested by the military, reported CNN.

  • “You can’t attack COVID-19 and attack doctors and nurses and clinics at the same time,” said Tom Andrews, the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, per CNN.
  • “That is exactly what is making a bad situation exponentially worse in Myanmar,” he said.
  • “The entire health care system is in shambles,” Andrews said. “The number of people being infected is just going through the roof, and no one trusts this junta to provide them with information or health care or vaccines that they need to confront this pandemic.”

“This is a complete catastrophe,” Andrews said. “It staggers the imagination. This thing is out of control.”

1. Indonesia’s COVID-19 outbreak

Over the last week, Indonesia has emerged as the new worldwide hot spot for COVID-19, reported the Deseret News. The country has been devastated by one of the world’s worst outbreaks for weeks.

  • The country has seen a 56% increase in cases this last week, according to data from The New York Times.
  • Indonesia reported the world’s highest number of new cases last week, said CNBC.
  • Daily deaths reached new highs as the country’s health care system continues to crumble under the current outbreaks, reported CNBC.

Even if cases in Indonesia begin to slow, doctors expect the number of COVID-19 deaths to rise in the coming weeks, per CNBC. The worst may still not be over for Indonesia.