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published : 9 Mar 2020 at 04:30
writer: Nareerat Wiriyapong
The world is in a state of panic right now. Every minute brings more bad news about the Covid-19 outbreak that has caused more than 3,300 deaths as of Friday. For many, the more information they consume -- whether it is factual or not -- the higher the possibility they will live in fear.
For me, it is worth looking into how countries, particularly our peers in Asia, are responding, although it's hard to compare the effectiveness of different approaches. The context for each country is different, particularly closeness to China and other high-risk countries. But it is interesting to see how politics and reliance on Beijing come into play.
Let's start with Cambodia, which is firmly within China's sphere of influence. Prime Minister HE has already made a number of diplomatic gestures to maintain solid ties with Beijing. The country has announced only one confirmed infection and is clearly downplaying the threat, which may be risking the safety of local people.
In contrast to many countries, Cambodia opted not to evacuate its citizens residing in Wuhan, where the virus began. HE also visited China to show solidarity and even offered to visit Cambodian students stranded in Wuhan. Beijing sensibly turned down his request.
Given that Chinese travellers account for more than a third of Cambodia's tourists and many Chinese workers are employed on Chinese-led construction projects in the country, few people believe there is only one confirmed case in the whole country. Unwillingness to impose any meaningful measures surely raises the risk of cross-border infections.
In Singapore, which has reported 112 cases, the response has been typically decisive, for which I think authorities deserve credit. Late last month a couple from Wuhan were charged with giving false information to Ministry of Health officials, which obstructed the process of contact tracing. They were the first to be charged under the Infectious Diseases Act in relation to the outbreak, and officials warn anyone else who fails to cooperate will face similar treatment. Conviction could lead to up to six months in jail and/or a fine up t S$10,000. The couple will be back in court on March 20.
Myanmar has also came out with a strong policy response even though China's influence is strengthening again following President Xi Jinping's recent state visit.
While not a single infection has been officially reported yet, Myanmar has stopped issuing a visas on arrival for Chinese visitors and also ordered tour operators to suspend services for Chinese visitors. It suspended all flights to and from China as of Feb 6 after evacuating its citizens from Wuhan. Such actions suggest that the Myanmar government has chosen to prioritise citizens' safety over the country's relationship with China to some degree.
Laos, meanwhile, has not reported a single confirmed case but faces a high risk due to the return of many Chinese workers employed in Chinese-led infrastructure projects after the Lunar New Year break. Chinese travellers account for almost 20% of tourist arrivals to the country.
Laos has suspended seven out of nine flight routes to China and temporarily suspended the issuance of tourist visas to those entering by land from China since Feb 2.
In Thailand, meanwhile, the government has seemed slow and indecisive. Most of the measures announced so far followed criticisms and complaints from the public, particularly those dealing with overpriced masks and how to handle illegal Thai labourers returning home from Covid-hit South Korea.
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Ha, the WHO are not certain how long the virus can live on surfaces. The only things the WHO has been certain about have turned out to be highly questionable, e.g. that it is not a pandemic.lostjeremy wrote: ↑Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:39 pmAccording to WHO...armchairlawyer wrote:On a positive note:
From 3/7 NYC Health Dept presser:
Most significant new data: the virus dies in minutes if it doesn't find a suitable host environment (bodily fluids, water). If you're following the hygiene guidelines, it's VERY unlikely you'll be infected & Americans are obsessed with hygiene.
Sent from my CPH1823 using Tapatalk
I don't think the markets have hit rock bottom yet.... But, to be honest, I have invested some money today. Bargains to be had now.
Exactly. 'Just in time' is a great concept when everything runs fine, now businesses with stocks will start making money...... At least 6 months until supply chains have been fully restored, possibly a lot longer.
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