COVID-19 Report: New infections reach record highs across Southeast Asia

Staff disinfect a passport scanner at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Photo: Suvarnabhumi Airport
Staff disinfect a passport scanner at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Photo: Suvarnabhumi Airport

Nations throughout Southeast Asia are reporting new single-day highs in coronavirus cases.

Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia all reported a torrent of new known infections on the same day the Chinese province where the outbreak began had its first day without one announced.

In Malaysia, 110 new cases drove the total up to 900 today, 63 of which were linked to a mosque gathering in Kuala Lumpur. After five days of rapidly climbing numbers, Thailand reported a new high of 60, most traced to a muay thai stadium and the Bangkok nightlife. Indonesia reported 82 new cases, pushing its known infections to 309. President Joko Widodo has ordered the government to prepare for mass testings to detect infections sooner. 

Singapore last night reported a new high of 47 new cases, involving mostly people who had traveled abroad. 

Updates from Coconuts’ newsrooms in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong:


  • Coronavirus cases hits 900 today after 110 new cases were announced. Sixty-three cases from the latest update are linked to the virus-hit mosque gathering.
  • Malaysia is tracking down 2,000 Rohingya men who attended the virus-hit mosque gathering in Kuala Lumpur for COVID-19 testing. More than 100,000 Rohingya who fled Myanmar reportedly live in Malaysia as illegal immigrants. 
    • Around 600 cases across Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Cambodia and Thailand are linked to the event.
  • A group of 89 Malaysians attending a separate mosque gathering in Indonesia will be quarantined when they return home, Defence Minister Ismail Sabri told local reporters today.
  • Malaysian health authorities tracked down all passengers aboard a coach from Johor Bahru to Kuantan after one of them tested positive. 


  • Thailand’s Civil Aviation Authority today announced it would now require all inbound travelers from 17 territories to produce health certificates as proof that they do not have COVID-19.
    • It applied to those arriving from places like China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Macao and South Korea.
    • In the latest conflicting signal to come out of Bangkok, the Minister of Transportation soon declared the order void and unfounded.
  • A journalist was among Thailand’s newly infected as coronavirus cases rose to 272. Sixty new cases were reported today, the highest single-day increase for the country so far. 


  • A Filipino governor criticized for getting tested without having symptoms amid a shortage of kits apologized online today.
    • “I take full responsibility if you think I took advantage of my position,” Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla said.
  • Health Secretary Francisco Duque has gone into self-quarantine after a senior official at his agency tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Fifteen more people have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the country’s total recorded cases to 212.


  • Coronavirus cases rose to 309 in Indonesia today after 82 new infections were reported today.
  • President Joko Widodo has instructed his government to prepare for mass COVID-19 testing for early coronavirus detection. No concrete plan laid out yet.
  • Local airline Lion Air says it is offering refunds for those who bought flights to Malaysia. The airline suspended flights to Malaysia until March 31, when the lockdown in Malaysia is expected to expire. 

Hong Kong

  • At least eight hotels in Hong Kong reportedly said they are offering rooms for quarantine of new travelers arriving in the city.
  • Fitness chain Pure Group has been widely criticized for continuing to run classes after a member tested positive. 
  • Hedge fund manager Joel Werner has issued an apology after he was caught on video licking his finger and then wiping it on a handrail on the train. 
  • Hong Kong is also probing a possible new cluster of infection linked to the Lan Kwai Fong nightlife hub.
  • Coronavirus cases in the city rose to 208 today after 16 new infections were reported.


  • Singapore has advised Singaporeans to defer all travel as imported infections rise in the city-state. 
  • Coronavirus cases rose to 313 last night after a new high of 47 cases were reported, of which 33 involved people who had traveled abroad.


Map of Thailand’s coronavirus infections to launch in new app
Lion Air passengers eligible for refunds for canceled flights after Malaysia lockdown

Health Secretary Duque in self-quarantine, being tested for COVID-19
Singapore reduces disclosure of COVID-19 infections as cases hit new high
President Joko Widodo orders immediate coronavirus mass testing in Indonesia
Duty Calls: Working from home a privilege only some Jakartans can afford
In another record day, Thailand reports 60 new COVID-19 cases
COVID-19 latest in Indonesia: 309 confirmed, 25 dead, 15 recovered

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