ASEAN Perspectives

Singapore Airlines reports nearly $150 million virus loss

  SINGAPORE (AFP) — Singapore Airlines reported an annual loss of almost $150 million Thursday, driven by the collapse in air travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and the latest sign of the outbreak’s devastating impact on the aviation sector. The airline group — which includes subsidiaries SilkAir and Scoo — suffered a net loss of Sg$212 million (US$148 million) for the financial year that ended on March 31, compared to a profit of Sg$683 […]

Malaysia to ease virus curbs as outbreak slows

  KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysia will allow most businesses to re-open from next week, the prime minister said Friday, easing a lockdown to fight the spread of the coronavirus as the country’s outbreak slows. The Southeast Asian nation in mid-March ordered the closure of all but essential businesses as well as schools and asked people to stay home, as cases surged. But the number of new infections has slowed markedly in recent weeks, […]

Virus pushes Indonesia zoo animals to brink of starvation

BANDUNG, Indonesia  (AFP) — Thousands of animals, including endangered Sumatran tigers and Bornean orangutans, are facing starvation at Indonesia’s zoos as the global pandemic pushes shuttered facilities toward collapse, officials say. Some 60 cash-strapped animal parks — home to roughly 70,000 creatures — across the Southeast Asian archipelago have been closed since mid-March and most say they have only enough food until the middle of May. “Most zoos relied on ticket sales so when they […]

Vietnam relaxes virus restrictions as cases plateau

  by Tran Thi Minh Ha and Alice Philipson Agence France Presse HANOI, Vietnam (AFP) — Vietnam eased social distancing measures Thursday, with experts pointing to a decisive response involving mass quarantines and expansive contact tracing for the apparent success in containing the coronavirus. Despite a long and porous border with China, the Southeast Asian nation has recorded just 268 virus cases and zero deaths, according to official tallies. Although the numbers tested for COVID-19 […]

Beijing names islands in disputed South China Sea

BEIJING, China (AFP) — China on Tuesday defended its naming of 80 islands and other geographical features in the South China Sea in a move likely to anger neighbors as the country asserts its territorial claims. A joint announcement of the names on Sunday from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Civil Affairs came a day after China established new administrative districts for the contested Spratly and Paracel island chains. The notice […]

President Duterte stresses need for ASEAN cooperation in defeating COVID-19, other pandemics

  (Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte stressed the need for cooperation of the various member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in defeating the COVID-19 pandemic, and other future pandemics that would threaten the health, food security and economies of other nations. “We are in the middle of an unfolding catastrophe – unprecedented in scale and devastating in impact for all. We face a new and different kind of enemy. In the […]

Indonesia’s Widodo declares state of emergency as virus toll jumps, but resists calls for lockdown

  JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Indonesian leader Joko Widodo declared a state of emergency Tuesday as coronavirus deaths in the world’s fourth most populous country jumped again, but he resisted calls for a nationwide lockdown. Widodo’s administration has been heavily criticized for not imposing lockdowns in major cities, including the capital Jakarta, a vast megalopolis home to about 30 million people where most of the country’s virus deaths have been reported. Indonesia’s leader offered few details of […]

Most Malaysia coronavirus cases linked to Islamic gathering

  KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysia said Sunday that more than half the country’s 428 coronavirus cases were linked to an international Islamic gathering held last month. The Southeast Asian nation announced a spike of 190 new infections over the weekend, mostly linked to a global Islamic event attended by almost 20,000 people. “Of the 428 cases, 243 are participants from the religious event in Sri Petaling mosque,” Noor Hisham Abdullah, director-general of the […]

Malaysia in turmoil as Mahathir, Anwar vie for power

  by M. Jegathesan / Patrick Lee Agence France Presse KUALA Lumpur, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysia was plunged into a bitter power struggle Wednesday as Mahathir Mohamad sought to form a unity government following his shock resignation, but old foe Anwar Ibrahim also pushed to become premier. The developments deepened a crisis that began when the ruling coalition — which included both men when it stormed to a historic poll victory in 2018 — fell […]

Cambodia PM defends ship docking despite virus diagnosis

  SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (AFP) — Cambodia’s strongman premier defended on Tuesday his decision to allow a US cruise ship to dock despite at least one passenger later being diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus, while authorities scrambled to track down hundreds that came in contact with her. The Westerdam was turned away by several Asian ports before Cambodia agreed last week to allow its more than 2,000 passengers and crew to disembark. But jubilation dimmed over […]

Implications on PHL tourism industry of novel coronavirus crisis

(Eagle News) — In this interview on ASEAN in Focus weekend edition on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, Joyce Alumno, president of Health Core, talks about the implications on the tourism industry in the Philippines of the current novel coronavirus problem that has affected business not only in Asia, but all over the world. Alumno, a medical tourism advocate, noted that the COVID-2019 scare, would have an impact on the country’s economy, considering that about 12.7 […]