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Coronavirus pandemic reaches 4 million people infected

Thaiger

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Across the world some 4,100,000+ people are now infected with Covid-19. The actual number is much higher but, for lack of testing and diagnosis in some countries, we may never know the exact number. Still the statistics, as varied and unreliable as they may be, still provide some general trends and provide scientists with valuable data.

There has never been a world viral pandemic that has been so numerically tracked and so widely reported.

The US has a total of 1,347,309 confirmed cases of Covid-19, adding around 30,000 new cases every day over the past month. And whilst the ‘curve’ started flattening at the start of April, the rise has been consistent, for the past month. There’s now been over 80,000 deaths attributed to Covid-19 with an average of 2,000 deaths per day, also being consistent during the past month.

Beyond the situation in the US, the countries worst hit by Covid-19 are in Europe – the UK (31,587 deaths), Italy (30,395 deaths), Spain (26,478 deaths) and France (26,310 deaths).

Statistically, the countries with the highest death rates have been San Marino, a microstate in northern Italy, with 1,208 deaths per 1 million population, Belgium (740 deaths per 1M), Spain (566 deaths per 1M), Italy (503 deaths per 1M) and the UK (465 deaths per 1M). The US death rate is 242 deaths per 1M.

In south east Asia both the rates of reported infections and death rates have been relatively low. Across the entire 10 countries of ASEAN, the average infection rate has been much lower than in, for example, some of the worst hit European countries (around 5,000 people infected per 1 million population). Singapore, with its high number of infections compared to its tiny population, is leading the infection rate (3,839 people per 1M), some 18 times higher than the next country, Malaysia (204 people per 1M), and 90 times higher than Thailand.

Singapore’s testing rate has also been the highest in the region with around 30,000 people tested per 1 million people, 4 times higher than Malaysia and 9 times higher than Thailand. The US testing rate is around 27,000 per 1 million people.

Singapore – 22.460 total infections and 20 deaths

(Mostly from a sudden spike around the start of April in its migrant worker population. The death rate has also been extremely low)

Indonesia – 13,645 and 959

(Regional health NGOs are sure that the infected numbers are much higher in the archipelago)

Philippines – 10,610 and 704

(Also has the highest death rate amongst the SE Asian nations although still extremely low compared with the European death rates)

Malaysia – 6,589 and 108

Thailand – 3,004 and 56

(The daily infection rate is now in single digits for the past two weeks)

Vietnam – 288 and 0

Myanmar – 178 and 6

(Myanmar also has the lowest testing rate of any of the reporting ASEAN countries)

Cambodia – 122 and 0

Laos – 19 and 0

Brunei has reported no Covid-19 cases.

All the statistics are from the worldometers.info website.

 

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ASEAN

ASEAN leaders speak about Saturday’s Myanmar summit

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Many leaders spoke after the ASEAN summit on Myanmar.

In Jakarta on Saturday, leaders of the ASEAN countries met to convince Burmese junta leader Min Aung Hlaing to work with them towards progress. Full cover from The Thaiger of what was discussed at the meeting can be found here. During and after the meetings, nation leaders and representatives voiced their concerns and goals regarding the crisis in Myanmar.

Tim Newton’s video assessment of what would happen at the meeting HERE.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo was vocal in his calls for the creation of an ASEAN delegation to travel to Myanmar and assess the situation. He stressed that it was imperative for this special envoy to interact with all parties involved in the Burmese crisis, and not just the military.

Malaysian PM Muhyiddin Yassin, in step with other ASEAN leaders, issued a statement strongly calling for a stop to violence against civilians, and for the release of political detainees.

“The deplorable situation in Myanmar must stop immediately. Malaysia believes the killings and violence must end. All parties must urgently restraint from any provocations and actions that will perpetuate violence and unrest.”

Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong believes that achieving peace in Myanmar is an uphill battle but remains hopeful.

“I’m sure that in implementing this, there’s a long way forward because there’s one thing to say you’ll cease violence and release political prisoners; it’s another thing to get it done. And to have an inclusive discussion in order to reach a political resolution is even harder still, but at least there are some steps forward which we can take. But I would say overall it has been a productive meeting, and it has pointed the next steps forward for us. If ASEAN had not met or had not been able to come to a conclusion on the matter, that would have been very bad.”

Singapore has been vocal in its call for the immediate release of political prisoners and an urgent stop to violence, sentiments PM Lee reiterated during the ASEAN leaders meeting. He believes that this is the first step to a resolution that must involve both the military junta and the National League for Democracy, the Burmese party led by Aung Sun Suu Kyi. The military has had an active role in Burmese politics for years, but the NLD has the support of the public needed to bring peace to the troubled country.

The Singaporean PM also expressed hope that Myanmar can return to peaceful government more quickly than the riots in 1989 which took more than 20 years to recover from, but he stressed that while Southeast Asian nations can offer support, the final resolution must be made by the Burmese themselves within the Myanmar border.

“I hope it doesn’t take as long this time, but I think it is going to be a difficult journey for them because a political reconciliation or resolution which is necessary is a very tough one to make. And we wish them well and we will do our part where we can be helpful.”

Philippines Foreign Secretary Teddy Locsin agreed, asserting that Myanmar must find peace on its own before it devolves into civil war.

“This is what Myanmar must avoid: geographical, political, social and national disintegration into warring ethnic parts. Myanmar on its own must find peace again.”

The Secretary attended as Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, similar to Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, decided against joining the ASEAN summit with other nation leaders, and sent a delegate in his place instead.

The National Unity Government, made up of deposed Myanmar lawmakers, complained of a lop-sided summit that allowed the Burmese military a seat, but no representation for the Burmese people. They issued a strongly-worded statement against their omission from talks.

“Meetings that contribute to a solution to the deepening crisis in Myanmar are welcome. Meetings that exclude the people of Myanmar but include murderer-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing … are unlikely to be helpful.”

Amnesty International released a similarly sharp statement before the meeting calling for a more forceful response to the Burmese military Junta, though the leaders at the ASEAN summit will likely be walking on eggshells to try to create open dialogue channels between Myanmar and other Southeast Asian countries.

“The crisis initiated by a murderous and unrepentant Myanmar military has engulfed the country and will cause severe aftershocks — humanitarian and more — for the entire region. The Indonesian authorities are duty-bound to investigate Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and other Myanmar military officials who may join his delegation to Jakarta.”

SOURCE: Reuters, Bangkok Post, and Channel News Asia

 

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ASEAN

Summit: Burmese military open to ASEAN delegation visits

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Today's ASEAN summit in Jakarta.

Today’s ASEAN summit in Jakarta has yielded progress regarding the situation in Myanmar with Burmese junta leader Min Aung Hlaing stating he’s not opposed to a special envoy being created and dispatched to Myanmar. The military leader also said he would consider several other steps proposed by the leaders of the Asian nations. With leaders or representation from most countries of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, today’s meetings carried high expectations to work towards some sort of resolution.

Members of the coalition at the summit requested six steps they want from the Burmese military, the first of which was for Burmese authorities to allow an ASEAN delegation to visit. They also called for a cessation of violence against unarmed civilians, allowing humanitarian aid across the borders and releasing the political prisoners taken since the February 1st coup.

The Burmese general said he heard the request of the ASEAN summit and would take into consideration the ones he thought were constructive. He also said he was not opposed to involvement from the Southeast Asian coalition including a visit and humanitarian aid. The next step is to plan the visits to Myanmar figuring out who will bring the aid and inspections and when.

General Min gave the gathered leaders his perspective on the events leading to the February 1st coup and the situation in Myanmar regarding demonstrators and civil unrest until now, along with his vision of the future of Myanmar. Leaders were reported to have each given their response directly and spoke about the meeting after the summit.

The National Unity Government, a coalition of ousted Burmese lawmakers, voice opposition to the meeting that included the brutal military leader, but no representation for the people of Myanmar, stating that with their exclusion, meetings were not likely to be successful. Security forces outside the summit, held at ASEAN Secretariat headquarters in Jakarta, monitored and broke up some small protests outside of the closed-door meeting as well. Amnesty International weighed in as well with a strong statement against the Burmese military junta.

“The crisis initiated by a murderous and unrepentant Myanmar military has engulfed the country, and will cause severe aftershocks — humanitarian and more — for the entire region.”

Some have called for Myanmar to be expelled from the ASEAN coalition but sentiment within the organisation leans towards engaging Myanmar to try to bring peace to Southeast Asia rather than alienating them. Today’s ASEAN summit was a cautious first step.

SOURCE: Channel News Asia

 

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ASEAN

ASEAN Summit on Myanmar – will it achieve anything? | VIDEO

Tim Newton

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Today the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will hold a special summit today to discuss the crisis in Myanmar. The meeting is being held at the current secretariat for the Bloc, in Jakarta.

There will be huffing and puffing, a group photo, a few grand-standing leaders shaking their fingers at the Burmese chiefs, and then everyone will go home.

And, as usual, ASEAN would have once again achieved precisely nothing.

Missing are the President of the Philippines and the Thai PM. They are both sending underlings, in the case of Thailand, the veteran foreign minister Don Pramudwinnai. When PM Prayut spoke with the Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Thursday, he expressed “concern and worries” about the situation in Myanmar told him that he’d stay home to focus on the rise in Covid cases.

The Burmese Army chief, Min Aung Hlaing, conformed this week that he will attend… probably more about stumping up his credentials as the defect leader and getting some international recognition. How ASEAN can even provide a podium for this military thug is unconscionable.

The Thaiger’s Tim Newton has his thoughts on the Saturday Summit.

 

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