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Southeast Asian Countries Raise Travel Alerts Amid Rising Covid Cases

Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia have been reimposing safety measures such as installing thermal body scanners at airports or screening foreign arrivals amid a spike in Covid cases.

Indonesia has installed thermal body scanners at Jakarta’s main international airport and Batam’s ferry terminal in recent weeks to screen arriving travelers for Covid-19, The Strait Times reported.

The number of Covid cases in Indonesia increased by 35–40, with the number of hospitalized patients reaching 60–131, according to Indonesia’s Health Ministry on Dec. 6.

The current cases are dominated by the Omicron XBB 1.5 subvariant, which was blamed for the Covid wave in Europe and the U.S. In addition, the EG2 and EG5 subvariants have also been detected in some patients, the ministry said.

However, the number of Covid cases is still lower than during the pandemic, when it reached 50,000–400,000 per week.

In a statement issued earlier this week, health authorities urged Indonesians to “postpone traveling to areas which are reporting a spike in Covid cases,” complete their two-dose vaccination, wear masks and wash their hands, and stay home in case they fall sick.

Singapore’s Ministry of Health said on Dec. 8 Covid-19 infections have been on the rise in the country over the past two weeks.

The increase could be due to many factors, including year-end travel and waning immunity.

Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung said people in Singapore should be vaccinated against Covid once a year, especially seniors above 60 and those with chronic illnesses, The Strait Times reported.

He also called on people to avoid contact with others, especially seniors, when sick, as well as wearing masks when going out.

Malaysia reported nearly 13,000 Covid cases during the country’s 49th Epidemiological Week from Dec. 3-9, compared to 6,796 cases in the previous week, New Strait Times reported.

Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan, director of the country’s Ministry of Health, warned about the increase in new cases due to travel and gatherings during celebrations and festivities.

He advised the public to take preventive measures, including maintaining a high level of personal hygiene, and frequently washing hands with water and soap.

Southeast Asian countries are racing to attract foreign tourists in the last months of the year.

Source : VN Express