COVID-19 Report: Global condom shortage looms as Malaysian lockdown continues, Phuket closes borders

File photo of Phuket. Photo: Arek Socha
File photo of Phuket. Photo: Arek Socha

The coronavirus pandemic has led Phuket authorities to virtually seal off the island while a possible global shortage of Malaysian condoms looms over the world, and ships may be turned into quarantine zones in the Philippines.

Fast-food chain McDonald’s is also preventing customers across Indonesia from dining in at its outlets, while Hong Kong hospitals suffer from a shortage of beds and Singapore continues to exercise its legal powers on those who violate COVID-19 rules. 

People are continuing to stay at homes across Southeast Asia with the second phase of the Malaysian lockdown beginning this week and Bali residents urged to refrain from traveling across the archipelago.

Asian markets fell across the board Monday after rallying over the successful passage of a massive stimulus package in the world’s largest economy.

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

Malaysia

  • A condom shortage is looming in the country – and the world – now that the world’s top condom maker has shut down due to the lockdown imposed in Malaysia. 
    • “We are going to see a global shortage of condoms everywhere, which is going to be scary,” CEO Goh Miah Kiat told Reuters. “My concern is that for a lot of humanitarian programs deep down in Africa, the shortage will not just be two weeks or a month. That shortage can run into months.”
  • Eateries and supermarkets will have their opening hours restricted during the second phase of the country’s lockdown, which starts Wednesday and continues another two weeks. 
    • They will only be allowed to operate 8am to 8pm, Defense Minister Ismail Sabri announced today.
  • The price of face masks will be fixed at RM1.50 (US$0.35) starting Wednesday, down from RM2 previously.
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 2,626 and the death toll to 37. A total of 479 people have recovered. The 37th death was a 46-year-old woman who had hypertension and an autoimmune disease. 
  • 1,290 of those who attended a virus-hit mosque gathering late last month in Kuala Lumpur have tested positive. 

Thailand

  • The Phuket resort island cut off most travel by land and sea until the end of April on order of its governor yesterday due to a worsening COVID-19 outbreak. No travel except for deliveries, emergency services, or the media, is permitted on or off the island. It’s airport remains open. 
  • Hundreds of police officers have been ordered to self-quarantine for two weeks after 27 of them were confirmed infected today.
  • The Buriram Prison today said that it had moved thousands of inmates to undisclosed facilities after much of the prison was torched in a riot sparked by fears a prisoner had become infected.
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 1,524 and the death toll to nine today.

Philippines

  • Made-in-Philippines COVID-19 test kits are gearing up for production once the Food and Drug Administration approves them. Manufacturer Manila HealthTek Inc. reportedly said it is ready to produce up to 120,000 units.
  • The government is preparing to transform ships into quarantine centers as hospitals go overcapacity. The Department of Transportation is coordinating with private shipowners in the Philippines on a plan.
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 1,546 and the death toll to 78.

Hong Kong

  • Hospitals in Hong Kong are experiencing a shortage of beds at isolation facilities, causing dozens of COVID-19 patients to end up on a waiting list, city authorities revealed today. 
  • Three men have been jailed for flouting quarantine rules. One of them was a homeless man who evaded quarantine after giving a false home address, South China Morning Post reported. 
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 682 with 41 new cases today. 

Singapore

  • Singapore reported the death of a 70-year-old man who tested positive earlier this month. The city’s third fatality, he also had hypertension and high cholesterol.
  • Long queues were spotted at major malls over the weekend as the number of shoppers allowed to enter was limited to align with safe distancing measures. 
    • Those who do not keep a 1-meter distance from each other in public places can be jailed or fined. No violators have been announced so far. 
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 844 yesterday after 42 new infections were announced. Two new clusters centered on the SingPost Centre shopping mall and a bridal company in Yishun have also emerged. 
  • Immigrations authorities announced yesterday they canceled the Singaporean passport of a man who broke quarantine by fleeing to Indonesia.

Indonesia

  • Dining inside McDonald’s outlets will not be allowed in Indonesia for two weeks starting Wednesday.
  • Denpasar’s mayor has urged people on Bali to refrain from returning to their hometowns.
  • Hundreds of foreign nationals fled Bali over the weekend, some through flights chartered by their respective governments. 
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 1,414 in Indonesia and the death toll to 122.

 

Related:

Hundreds of foreign nationals leave Bali amid coronavirus outbreak
Denpasar mayor urges city residents to stay at home amid coronavirus outbreak
Viral: Jakarta doomsday shoppers accosted at supermarket for wearing hazmat suits
Hundreds of Bangkok cops quarantined after dozens of infections hit ranks
Prisoners still loose after COVID-19 fear sparks Thai prison riot
Stranded: Phuket closes ports, shuts bridges as infection spreads
Philippine-made COVID-19 test kits ready this week

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