COVID-19 report: Malaysia joins other Southeast Nations in unveiling multi-billion dollar aid

Medical workers in Malaysia hold up printed messages telling everyone to stay home, in a photo dated March 20. Photo: Noor Hisham Abdullah/Facebook
Medical workers in Malaysia hold up printed messages telling everyone to stay home, in a photo dated March 20. Photo: Noor Hisham Abdullah/Facebook

Malaysia joins other Southeast Asian nations in unveiling a multi-billion dollar aid relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while Singapore legally enforces its people-distancing measures and Indonesia’s total infections surpass the 1,000 mark. 

Malaysia’s RM250 billion (about US$57 billion) aid relief is expected to be channeled towards welfare assistance and struggling businesses. The stimulus package was revealed as the country’s coronavirus cases rose to more than 2,000.

Stricter distancing measures are taking place in Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong.

Those who do not keep a 1-meter physical distance from one another while in public in Singapore could face jail time. A city-wide lockdown has been imposed on Tegal City in Central Java while people in Bali have been told to continue staying at home until March 30. Hong Kong announced plans to require restaurants to limit the number of diners and to place tables at least 1.5 meters apart.

Coronavirus cases in Indonesia also surpassed the 1,000 mark today.

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


  • Malaysia announced a RM250 billion stimulus package to help the country cope with the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
    • RM128 billion has been set aside for welfare and RM100 billion for small to medium businesses. 
  • More than 3,000 Malaysians are stranded overseas – across 61 countries – amid the coronavirus outbreak, Deputy Foreign Minister Kamarudin Jaffar announced today. The government is working towards bringing them back.
  • The coronavirus death toll rose to 26 today, involving mostly the elderly and those who already have chronic illness. Total infections rose to 2,161 today, of which 54 are in ICU. A total of 259 people have recovered. 


  • Singapore is legally enforcing its people-distancing measures that were previously announced as part of efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Those who do not maintain a 1-meter distance from each other in public places like restaurants and supermarkets face six months’ jail and S$10,000 fines. It is not clear if this will be applied to public transportation.
    • People who leave their homes while on five-day medical leave for acute respiratory symptoms will also face similar penalties. 
  • The big Fairprice supermarket chain imposed new buying limits today. Shoppers are now only allowed to buy two packets of paper products instead of two, five liters of oil, and 10kg of rice. 
  • Coronavirus cases rose to 683 with 52 new cases yesterday. Death toll still stands at two. 


  • Thailand reported its fifth death today involving a man who recently traveled to Malaysia to attend the virus-hit mosque gathering in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Coronavirus cases rose to 1,136.


  • The government is reportedly considering banning citizens from traveling for the Islamic Idul Fitri holidays slated to begin on May 23. Some 20 million people are expected to return to their hometowns during the season. 
  • Bali authorities have ordered residents to continue staying home until March 30. 
  • Tegal city in Central Java has been ordered a lockdown for four months.
  • Coronavirus cases surpassed 1,000 today, with the death toll rising to 87.

Hong Kong

  • Hong Kong announced plans to require restaurants to limit the number of diners at a table to four, and to place tables at least 1.5 meters apart.
  • The government also plans to force bars to limit their crowds to half their capacity in an apparent bid to encourage social distancing.
  • Coronavirus cases rose to 518 today with 65 new cases. Fourteen of the new cases are students returning from overseas, 10 are linked to musicians who had performed in four bars in the Lan Kwai Fong nightlife hub and Wan Chai.


  • A 1-year-old girl from Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro has tested positive.
  • An education official has tested positive for COVID-19, weeks after attending events that had thousands of students.
  • The Department of Health has rejected Marikina City Hall’s proposed COVID-19 testing lab, saying that it does not adhere to biosafety standards.
  • Coronavirus cases rose to 803 today. Fifty-four people have died and 31 people have since recovered.


Standing too close to one another in Singapore could now land you in jail
Fairprice supermarket further limits shoppers buying paper products, rice
Bali government extends public stay at home advisory until March 30

Health minister under fire, again, saying infected medical staff weren’t being careful
Thai man who returned from Malaysia becomes 5th COVID-19 death in Thailand
Tegal shuts all access to city for 4 months in ‘local lockdown’
Education official who attended student events in Isabela and Cagayan contracts COVID-19

Cookware Essentials for your COVID-19 Lockdown: Order your Cast Iron Skillet, Bread Maker, and Steamboat Pot online



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