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Coronavirus Asia

Malaysia closes its borders

Jack Burton

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Malaysia closes its borders | The Thaiger
PHOTO: A shopper takes a picture at an empty shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur yesterday - Vincent Thian, AP
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The government of Malaysia announced yesterday it is shutting its borders to travellers, restricting domestic movement, closing schools and universities and ordering most businesses closed after the number of Covid-19 coronavirus cases climbed yesterday to the highest in Southeast Asia. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin made a nationally televised speech announcing the measures, which will be in force beginning tomorrow until March 31.

Malaysia yesterday confirmed a daily jump of 125 cases to 553, well over half of them linked to an Islamic gathering attended by around 16,000 people, including 1,500 from outside Malaysia.

Schools and universities will be shuttered, as will government offices and private business (except those providing essential services). Foreigners will not be allowed to enter or leave the country.

“These actions must be taken by the government to stem the spread of the pandemic that may take the lives of our country’s people.”

Malaysia closes its borders | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: – Reuters

So far, 338 of Malaysia’s cases have been linked to the religious gatherings at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur which ran from Feb 28 to March 1. Malaysia’s health minister says that of the 14,500 Malaysians who attended the event, just 7000 have come forward for testing, despite repeated pleas from government and religious leaders.

The gathering has been linked to cases in Singapore, Brunei and Cambodia.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Coronavirus Japan

Tokyo Olympics may cost almost US$2 billion more due to Covid delay

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Tokyo Olympics may cost almost US$2 billion more due to Covid delay | The Thaiger

The Tokyo Olympics may cost almost US$2 billion more than its original budget of US$13 billion, after it has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Olympic organisers say they will decide on the increased budget for the Games after communicating with Japan’s government and Tokyo. The Games were postponed by 1 year after Covid-19 spread worldwide, with its opening date set to July 23, 2021. Of all the events postposed because of Covid-19, the Olympics was the biggest and most complex to postpone.

Such a delay has yielded new costs, from retaining the organising staff, rebooking venues and transportation. Not to mention, the question of if the event can actually proceed safely. But Olympic officials are reaffirming that the Games can, indeed, be held following safety measures.

Such covid safety measures are reportedly another reason why the price of the event has increased, although the new estimated cost doesn’t include such measures. Officials say they are expecting the additional costs to be paid for by the Japanese government. Organisers and officials are reportedly considering a long list of possible virus countermeasures that they hope will make the Games possible, even if a vaccine is not yet available.

A dialed-down, lower-cost Olympics plan was announced in September, with banners, mascots, meals, and athlete welcome ceremonies being scrapped along with fewer free tickets to be offered. A senior official has said that Tokyo Olympics test events will resume in March with a decision on fan attendance to be made in the spring season.

Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee Chief says he is very confident that the Games will have attending fans. However, fan enthusiasm has decreased inside of Japan, with summer polls indicating only 1 in 4 Japanese people wanting the Games to happen, with most wanting them to be postponed or even fully cancelled.

So far, Tokyo has reported just over 40,000 cases of Covid, with Japan reporting 145,000 cases since the pandemic began.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus Singapore

Singaporean woman gives birth to baby with Covid antibodies in system

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Singaporean woman gives birth to baby with Covid antibodies in system | The Thaiger

A Singaporean woman has given birth to a baby with Covid antibodies in its system, giving new clues into whether Covid can be transferred from mother to child. The woman, Celine Ng-Chan, was infected with the virus in March during her pregnancy, and gave birth this month to her Covid-free baby.

“My doctor suspects I have transferred my Covid-19 antibodies to him during my pregnancy.”

The World Health Organisation says it is not yet known whether a pregnant woman with Covid-19 can pass the virus to her foetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery.

Ng-Chan became mildly sick from the virus, but was discharged from the National University Hospital after 2.5 weeks. So far, the World Health Organisation says it is not yet known whether a pregnant woman can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery, but this new finding helps researchers with new information. The active virus has not been found in samples of fluid around the fetus in the womb or in breast milk as of now, with Chinese doctors reporting such detection of antibodies in babies born to women, who have been infected with the virus, has been shown to decline over time.

New York Presbyterian/Columia University Irving Medical Centre has also reported in October, in JAMA Pediatrics, that the transmission of the virus from mothers to babies is rare, further pointing towards the risks being minimal of the possible transmission from mother to baby either in the womb, during delivery, or in breastfeeding.

Meanwhile, a 29 year old female Thai returnee from Myanmar has tested positive for Covid in Chiang Mai, after visiting the hospital with flu-like symptoms. She was the only local case reported, out of 5 other positive tests, with officials saying she is believed to have contracted the virus in Myanmar.

The positive test on November 27, came after she was out and about, with authorities saying 326 people are suspected of coming in contact with the woman. The woman reportedly visited a mall to eat Japanese shabu, watched a movie, visited a karaoke bar, and used public transportation before her positive diagnosis.

SOURCE: NDTV.com

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Coronavirus News & Updates

10 new cases of Covid today in Thailand, all in quarantine

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10 new cases of Covid today in Thailand, all in quarantine | The Thaiger

Thailand has 10 new cases of Covid-19 reported today by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). The infections were from those arriving from 8 different countries, with all being in quarantine. The new cases bring the total to 3,902 with the death toll remaining at 60. Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, US and India were the countries that the visitors have arrived from, with most having no symptoms upon entering Thailand.

A 55 year old from Germany who was a Dutch businessman tested positive in quarantine after arriving in Bangkok on November 6 without any symptoms.

A 30 year old Thai woman tested positive in quarantine with symptoms after arriving from Sweden on November 12 while a day later a 56 year old Swiss man tested positive after arriving from Switzerland with no symptoms. Another case was a 43 year old Thai masseuse who arrived from the Czech Republic on November 14. That person was also on the same flight as another previously confirmed case.

An engineer from Belgium tested positive after arriving on the same day as the Thai masseuse, and was on the same flight as another confirmed case. The Belgian displayed no symptoms. Again on the same day, a 15 year old Indian student tested positive after arriving in Bangkok. That student was also on a flight with a previously confirmed case.

2 Thai women, who also arrived on November 14 from the Netherlands tested positive. One was a 52 year old housewife with virus symptoms and the other was a 22 year old student with no symptoms. 2 more Thais returned from the US in which both tested positive on the same day as the others, with one displaying symptoms. The other, was a 61 year old retired official.

Globally, the amount of cases rose by 659,511 over the last 24 hours to 57.9 million. The death toll worldwide also rose to 1.37 million. The US remains as the country with the most cases, at 12.27 million, followed by India with just over 9 million. Thailand currently ranks 151st worldwide for the number of cases so far reported.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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