COVID-19 Report: Economic impact of coronavirus becoming evident in Southeast Asia

Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media

The economic impact of the coronavirus is becoming evident in Southeast Asia with thousands of people in Indonesia driven out of jobs and a third round of financial aid relief announced in Singapore as part of efforts to prevent companies from laying off staff. 

Singapore’s latest stimulus package is worth S$5.1 billion and also includes S$600 cash payouts for each adult Singaporean. Indonesians mostly in Jakarta and Bali have been left out of jobs or forced to take unpaid leave, according to announcements made by local authorities today. 

The Philippines has welcomed medical workers from China to help in its battle against COVID-19 and will start mass producing protective gears for medical workers at its local garment factories. 

More updates from Coconuts newsrooms in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong: 


  • Singapore announced a third COVID-19 aid relief package today which includes S$600 (US$420) cash payouts for each adult Singaporean. 
  • Singapore will shut Terminal 2 of its Changi Airport until next year as part of cost-cutting measures during the COVID-19 outbreak, which has seriously affected the country’s tourism industry. 
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 1,309 in Singapore after a record number of 120 new infections were reported last night, with a bulk of which involving migrant workers at various dormitories. Two dormitories have been ordered to lock down due to escalating cases. Around 20,000 migrant workers have been put under quarantine. 


  • Malaysia has identified a cluster of infections stemming from a person who had visited Italy. According to Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah, that person is case No. 1,580. About 37 patients and five deaths have been related to this cluster. 
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 3,793 after 131 new cases were reported today. The death toll rose to 62.


  • Wearing face masks in public is now mandatory for everyone in Indonesia. No penalties announced.
  • The economic impact of the coronavirus has driven hundreds of people in Bali out of jobs and thousands others forced to take unpaid leave, local authorities said today. The number nearly triples for those in Jakarta. 
  • Indonesian millennials appear to be taking the lead in voicing opinions about the government’s seemingly sluggish response to the COVID-19 crisis, read one person’s detailed opinion, here.
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 2,491 with 218 new cases. The death toll rose to 209. 


  • Local garment factories will on April 13 start mass producing much needed medical equipment for health workers, including protective gears, a spokesperson of the government’s COVID-19 taskforce announced today.
  • The Philippines yesterday welcomed 12 medical experts from China to help the country fight COVID-19.
  • A pastor has been arrested for holding a worship service attended by hundreds despite social distancing measures. 
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 3,660 and the death toll to 163.

Hong Kong

  • City authorities have ordered the closure of bars, pubs, and nightclubs for two weeks as part of stricter COVID-19 measures.
  • More than 100 riot police officers have been put under quarantine after two of them tested positive.
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 914 after 24 new infections were reported today. Five of the new cases involve people who were repatriated from Peru. 


  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 2,220 with 51 new infections and the death toll to 26 after three more deaths were reported. Most of the cases are located in Bangkok.

Subscribe to the WTF is Up in Southeast Asia + Hong Kong podcast to get our take on the top trending news and pop culture from the region every Thursday!

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