Southeast Asian nations to begin easing COVID-19 lockdowns

The Southeast Asian nations of Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore are all set to ease their coronavirus lockdowns this week.

There has been at least 2,700 COVID-19 deaths in Southeast Asia, a region that has registered a total of 89,000 cases, reports Efe news.

With the partial opening of restaurants, shops and public parks already in effect, Thailand will from Monday allow cinemas, gyms and massage parlours to resume activities.

The Thai government’s PR department tweeted on Sunday: “The third phase of relaxed measures will begin on 1 June, when many establishments will be allowed to resume their services under the strict measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Inter-provincial travel is also being relaxed to support economic activities.”

The Tourism industry accounts for between 12-20 per cent of Thailand’s GDP.

Thai health authorities on Sunday said there had been four new cases detected in the country in the last 24 hours, bringing the overall total since the outbreak began to 3,081. A total of 57 people have died.

Authorities in the Philippines were set to ease the lockdown in the capital Manila also from Monday.

In a bid to contain the spread of the virus, the city has been under draconian restrictions for 78 days, two days longer than Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus originated last December.

Deserted for more than two months, traffic will return to the streets of Manila on Monday and residents will be given more freedom to leave their house, although the use of masks in public spaces such as shops will be required.

In the Philippines, there have been 17,000 COVID-19 cases and 950 deaths

In Singapore, schools will partially reopen on Tuesday and restrictions on weddings and funerals will be eased, allowing gatherings of up to 10 people.

The city is also beginning the process of gradually reopening the economy, although workers are still being urged to clock on remotely when possible.

Singapore has registered 34,000 COVID-19 cases with 23 deaths.

Meanwhile, Malaysia and Indonesia are also starting to lift restrictions on the free movement of people but both countries have enforced strict social distancing rules in an effort to prevent a second wave of infections.