ASEAN IN FOCUS

Vietnam to postpone SEA Games until next year: state media

HANOI, Vietnam (AFP) — Vietnam plans to postpone this year’s Southeast Asian Games, state media said Wednesday, as the country grapples with a new virus outbreak. The regional Olympics are due to be held in Hanoi and 11 other locations — some of them at the epicentre of the fresh Covid-19 wave — from November 21 to December 2. But Vietnam reportedly wants to move the 31st SEA Games to next year. An online meeting […]

Tourist-hungry Thailand launches virus vaccination push

BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — Thailand launched a mass Covid-19 vaccination drive on Monday as it seeks to beat a third wave of infections and reboot its vital tourism industry, which has been devastated by pandemic travel curbs. The kingdom plans to give out some six million jabs in June, initially focusing on Bangkok — where the country’s current third wave began — and the tourist island of Phuket. The push comes as the government faces […]

6.1 magnitude earthquake strikes eastern Indonesia: USGS

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia’s remote Maluku islands Thursday, the United States Geological Survey said, but no tsunami warning was issued. The strong quake hit at a relatively shallow depth of 31 kilometers (20 miles), about 127 kilometres southwest of the city of Ternate. There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage. Indonesia experiences frequent quakes due to its position on the Pacific “Ring […]

Indonesia halts deep-sea salvage of sunken submarine

  JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Indonesia has called off its bid to salvage a military submarine that sank off the coast of Bali, killing all 53 crew aboard, the navy said Wednesday. The KRI Nanggala 402 disappeared in April while it was scheduled to take part in live torpedo training exercises, sparking a desperate international rescue effort. An underwater rescue vehicle later spotted the German-built sub lying on the sea floor more than 800 metres […]

Malaysia scrambles jets to intercept Chinese military planes

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysia scrambled jets to intercept 16 Chinese military aircraft off the country’s coast in the South China Sea, a rare incident that the foreign minister angrily denounced Tuesday as an “intrusion”. It took place Monday off the Malaysian part of Borneo island over the fiercely contested waters, where China and Malaysia have overlapping territorial claims. The Chinese air force transport planes approached Malaysian airspace in “tactical formation” and flew to […]

PHL leads ASEAN in terms of number of people vaccinated per day, says Galvez

PHL achieves 150k jabs a day, 1M per week; over 5M doses already administered   (Eagle News) – The Philippines has been able to administer over 5 million vaccine doses before the end of May, and has vaccinated over three million individuals, according to vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte, Galvez said that the country was also able to triple the number of people vaccinated this May compared […]

Malaysia imposes lockdown as Southeast Asia battles virus surge

by M. Jegathesan KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysia imposed a tough nationwide lockdown on Tuesday to battle a worsening coronavirus outbreak, as countries across Southeast Asia struggled with a resurgence in cases driven by infectious variants. Much of the region escaped the pandemic’s first wave last year relatively unscathed by rapidly closing borders and introducing curbs. But countries from Thailand to Vietnam are being hammered by fresh surges, with efforts to quell outbreaks hampered […]

Singapore to vaccinate schoolchildren against Covid

SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) — Singapore will start vaccinating schoolchildren against the coronavirus soon, the prime minister said Monday, after officials warned that new strains were affecting youngsters more. The city-state recently tightened curbs following a slight uptick in cases, after months of reporting barely any local transmissions. This included closing schools amid signs that new variants, such as the one first detected in India, were affecting children in greater numbers. In a televised speech, Prime […]

Vietnam to suspend incoming int’l flights to Hanoi over new Covid variant from June 1 to 7

  HANOI, Vietnam (AFP) — The international airport of Vietnam’s capital will suspend inbound flights from abroad beginning Tuesday, the country’s aviation body announced, as it grapples with a fresh wave of virus outbreaks. A “temporary suspension of receiving international flights” will begin at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport from June 1 at midnight until June 7, the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam said in a statement on Monday. Vietnam’s health minister said over the […]

Vietnam discovers new hybrid virus variant – combination of Indian and British strains

  HANOI, Vietnam (AFP) — Vietnam has discovered a new Covid-19 variant which spreads quickly by air and is a combination of the Indian and British strains, health officials confirmed Saturday. The country is struggling to deal with fresh outbreaks across more than half of its territory, including industrial zones and big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. More than 6,800 cases including 47 deaths have been reported in Vietnam, with the […]

Nearly 300 rescued in Indonesia ferry accident

    TERNATE, Indonesia (AFP) — Search teams are looking for one missing person after rescuing all other passengers from a large ferry that caught fire in Indonesia, an official said Sunday. The KM Karya Indah was heading to Sanana, a remote port in the northeast of the Indonesian archipelago when it was engulfed in flames. Shortly after departing, the ferry caught fire, forcing passengers and crew to jump into the sea to save themselves. […]

Malaysia announces national lockdown to battle virus surge

  KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysia announced on Friday it will impose a nationwide lockdown for the first time in over a year as it battles a rapidly escalating coronavirus outbreak that has strained the country’s healthcare system. Officials believe more infectious variants have contributed to the surge, as well as gatherings in the Muslim-majority country during the holy month of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr holiday earlier this month. After a new daily record […]