Southeast Asia enters the “new normal”

Thursday, 2021-11-04 12:08:24
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People are queuing up to get vaccinated in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (Photo: AFP/VNA)
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NDO – Along with the global trend of “living with COVID-19”, Southeast Asian countries are actively preparing to enter the new normal with measures to prevent and control the epidemic while reopening the economy.

Accordingly, the solidarity and coordination among ASEAN countries will be decisive in helping them overcome the pandemic during this period.

The reopening of socio-economic activities has been implemented in most Southeast Asian countries following the “coverage” of vaccines against COVID-19. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that the country will reopen in all aspects and live with COVID-19 in a new way of life from now on. Last week, theatres and museums in Cambodia began to operated once more; meanwhile, some attractive tourist attractions such as Sihanoukville, Koh Rong Island and Koh Kong Province reopened to visitors who are fully vaccinated and accepted a five-day quarantine.

In other countries such as Thailand and Indonesia, many tourism activities have been gradually restored. Thailand has officially launched a ‘tourist bubble” model on Phuket Island and Indonesia began to receive travellers from 18 countries in mid-October.

Along with the reopening of tourism, trade and production activities have been also recovered step by step in Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines as average daily recorded cases are now less than half that of in early September. Accordingly, manufacturing hubs in Southeast Asia have reopened in recent weeks, contributing to reducing the impacts on supply chains and sales of major brands.

In addition, the Southeast Asian countries has been also actively expanding immunisation for students towards reopening schools. Malaysia would proceed with the procurement of the Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for children, following a US expert panel's recommendation for the shot to be authorised for those aged 5 to 11. Meanwhile, Indonesia's National Agency of Food and Drug Control has approved China's Sinovac vaccine for emergency use with children aged 6 to 11, based on the results of clinical trials for safety and immunity.

COVID-19 pandemic has raged severely for nearly two years and has weakened many economies as well as claimed the lives of thousands of people in Southeast Asia. During the fight against the pandemic, countries in the region have affirmed their spirit of community, solidarity, and proactive response to challenges.

At the recent ASEAN Summit, the regional leaders agreed to adopt frameworks and joint action plans, while conveying the message of the cooperation and unity to control the pandemic and boost economic recovery. Entering the current "new normal", ASEAN countries once again need to "stand side by side" in carrying out measures to combat against the epidemic and reopen the economy as well as continue affirm the above message of solidarity.

Thuy Duong
Translated by NDO