COVID-19 Report: Lockdowns, limitations pile up across Southeast Asia

A medical worker on duty at Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Photo: TTSH/Facebook
A medical worker on duty at Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Photo: TTSH/Facebook

A patchwork of new measures is coming to Southeast Asia to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Singapore has proposed a ban on gatherings of any size and parts of Indonesia are expected to shut businesses and impose curfews. While they would be late to adopt measures already in place elsewhere, there remains no coordinated response after over three months.

If passed, Singaporeans caught gathering at home or in public would face jail time and hefty fines. Most Jakartan businesses will need to shut down after the Health Ministry signed off on a sweeping new restrictions. Their effective date has yet to be announced.

Meanwhile, those in West Java could face stricter COVID-19 rules with the government now considering imposing curfews in response to inadequate social-distancing measures. 

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


  • Singapore proposed a bill banning gatherings of any size, both private or public, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. When passed, the new law would be valid six months and violators punished with six months in jail and S$10,000 fines. 
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 1,375 after 66 new infections were reported. 
    • Infections linked to a preschool in Bedok North have been traced to a family member the Health Ministry said had contracted the disease in Malaysia.
    • Another migrant worker dormitory in Kranji has been hit with the coronavirus with three cases.


  • Two housing flats in Kuala Lumpur have been put on lockdown after 15 people tested positive.
  • Various places including some fancy hotels have been used as quarantine zones in Malaysia, but those who chose to be locked down in hotel rooms would need to pay for their stay, according to Defense Minister Ismail Sabri today. 
    • Those under quarantine at such places include ambassadors and diplomats. Ismail said they will bear the cost. 
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 3,963 and the death toll to 63.


  • Thailand’s health officials have expressed dissatisfaction over insufficient COVID-19 testing in the country. It is looking into ways to increase testing capacity.
  • Pattaya will likely close to all travel for at least three weeks starting Thursday.
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 2,258 and the death toll to 27. 

Hong Kong

  • Chief Executive Carrie Lam is expected to announce relief measures to save the jobs of low-tier workers.
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 935 today with 21 new infections. 
    • New cases include three who went to a karaoke lounge in Causeway Bay before it was ordered closed as part of stricter COVID-19 measures. 


  • Jakarta is expected to shut businesses and nonessential services soon in light of the COVID-19 outbreak following the approval of the Large-Scale Social Restrictions policy.
  • West Java is considering imposing curfews amid inadequate social-distancing measures. 
    • “I carried out inspections at several regencies and it was evident that not a lot of effort has been put into it,” Gov. Ridwan Kamil told reporters. 
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 2,738 in Indonesia and the death toll to 221.


  • The Department of Health revealed in a televised briefing today that it is looking into Traditional Chinese Medicine for medically unproven COVID-19 treatments.
  • The total number of Filipinos infected with COVID-19 abroad now stands at 569 across 36 countries and regions, the Foreign Affairs Department said today.
  • The government has allowed train repairs to be conducted on locked-down Luzon.  
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 3,764 and the death toll to 177.

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