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Corona Chronicles: Voices from the Field

Corona Chronicles: Voices from the Field

Discursive Control, Thai-Style: The Ministry of Interior and the COVID-19 Outbreak

Nearly two months after the deadly COVID-19 virus arrived in Thailand, the Thai government’s initial laidback approach to dealing with the disease quickly changed when a large cluster of infections erupted early March at a scandal-ridden military-run boxing ring in Bangkok.

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The Paralysis of Tourism and the Rise of Agriculture in Bali, Indonesia

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a global disaster and impacted societies in an unprecedented fashion. In Indonesia, the government has declared a ‘stay at home’ instruction along with others including working learning and worshiping from home.

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Political Plague1: Thailand’s COVID-19 State of Emergency as a Mere Footnote in an Historical Tragedy of Authoritarianism

In Thailand, 2020 will be remembered more for COVID-19 than for the State of Emergency which authorities decreed ostensibly to combat the virus. But Thailand’s 2020 draconian response to COVID-19 has re-illuminated the authoritarian character of the current regime governing the country and the absolutist heritage of the kingdom itself.

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Thailand and COVID-19: What’s Happened and What’s Next

The first case of COVID-19 in Thailand was reported on 13 January 2020, a female Chinese tourist from Wuhan. It was then widely predicted that Thailand would be the third worst hit by the virus, after China and Hong Kong, largely because of the large number of Chinese tourists, 11 million in 2019.

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Global Problems, Local Pain: Coronavirus in Mexico and the Philippines

COVID-19, a virus one hundred times smaller than a cell, has pushed millions of people over the edge, and aggravated our dominant economic system. With both Mexico and the Philippines, both geographically distant but united by history, as of the 3 May, authorities reported 22,088 infections and 2,061 deaths in Mexico1 and 9,223 and 607 respectively in the Philippines.

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Handling the Outbreak among the Indigenous People of Dayak Benawan

Since March 2020, the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) has categorized the COVID-19 outbreak as a national disaster. To date, however, the authorities have issued no specific guidelines for indigenous peoples.

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Cambodia: An Optimistic Country Amidst a Global Pandemic

Cambodia’s first confirmed case of Covid-19 was about a month later than the first confirmed case in Wuhan, China. The first case was from a Chinese man who came to visit Cambodia on 27 January and the second case was on 7 March 2020. As of 28 April 2020, there were 122 confirmed cases (with 119 recovered) within 13 out of 25 provinces and capital, with three major hotspots including Sihanoukville with 40 patients, Phnom Penh 28, and Kampong Cham 16.

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The New Normal and Conversations Under the Tamarind Tree

Adapting to the new normal prompted by the pandemic is challenging for a developing country like Myanmar. Wearing a mask is proving a difficult adaptation for people from all walks of life — housewives, monks, nuns, bus drivers, labourers and sellers in the market.

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Power in the Time of Covid-19: Notes & Reflections on the Malaysian ‘MCO’

The Malaysian government enforced the Movement Control Order (hereafter, ‘MCO’, being the form of nation-wide ‘lockdown’ as it is known locally) beginning from the 18th of March, 2020, and had since been extended until the 12th of May, as the main centrepiece of its overall strategy to contain the Covid-19 pandemic within its borders.

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Covid-19 and Popular Culture in Southeast Asia

While each Southeast Asian country has taken various responses toward the COVID-19 pandemic, a similarity was the need of governments, organizations and even individuals to ensure accurate and updated information to keep their communities, and citizens safe.

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Indonesia at a Crossroads amidst Efforts to Contain the Coronavirus

At the beginning of May, the Indonesian news and social media broke a big news story about 500 workers from the People’s Republic of China who were granted visas amidst the Indonesian government’s travel restriction to contain the Coronavirus. These workers would be heading to their final destination in South Konawe Regency in the Indonesian province of Southeast Sulawesi, where they would work at a nickel industrial plant.

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The Pandemic in Burma

Though Burma shares a long border with China, state authorities initially claimed there was not one case of COVID-19 in the country. Some earnestly, but naively, attributed this to what they fondly called their unique social lives, whereas many others gave credit to religion.

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Uncertainties Hound Overseas Filipinos in the Mekong Region

Amongst people wearing masks, coming and leaving, my friend and I met in the middle of the busy Payathai Train Station walkway. We took off our masks and embraced.

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Locked-in, Locked-down: COVID-19 in Laos

Laos was the last ASEAN member state to confirm the presence of COVID-19 within its borders. The Lao Vice Minister of Health announced in a televised press conference on 24 March 2020 that two Lao nationals had tested positive for the virus, a day after Myanmar reported its first COVID-19 case. Dispensing with international health confidentiality protocols, the Vice Minister provided the names of the two patients, in addition to more standard information.

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Navigating Solicitudes in the Times of Pandemic

On Saturday 26 April, the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) sent congratulatory notes to Malaysian frontliners in the COVID-19 battle and proclaimed that Malaysia has successfully cured 32.7% of its COVID-19 cases, the highest in the world, whose average was only 21.01%, while our case fatality rate (MIER, 24 April, 2020) was only 1.63% as opposed to the world average of 5.49%. It went on to state, this “proves that the government has done right and our healthcare is among the best and our frontlines are excellent!” (MIER, 2020).

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Amid the Pandemic, a Killing, Arrests and Crackdown on Freedom

On our eighth week of lockdown in Metro Manila, the killing of a man who supposedly attempted to breach a checkpoint, and the government clamping down on netizens for their social media posts perceived to be critical of President Duterte are emblematic of the heavy hand of the state during this public-health emergency.

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Covid-19. El caso del Perú

En el Perú el primer caso de covid-19 se registró el 6 de marzo del año 2020, un piloto de LATAM que volvía de sus vacaciones en España. Una vez conocida esta situación el ‘paciente cero’ fue aislado y se procedió a hacer seguimiento a sus familiares y contactos.

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Covid-19 in Peru

Peru noted its first case of covid-19 on March 6, 2020, when a pilot for LATAM airlines returned from his vacation in Spain. Once this situation was known, “patient zero” was isolated and his family and contacts were followed up.

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Self-isolation in Hanoi during COVID-19: What Made it Possible?

From Midnight, March 28, 2020, Vietnam commenced a nation-wide period of “social isolation’’ (or self-isolation). This requires staying at home for a maximum period of time and only leaving the house in cases of emergency. This isolation has been implemented on the principles of “family members staying isolated at their family base, that villages are separated from other villages, commune from communes, districts from other the districts, and province from other provinces.”

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Two Prayuths Dilemma and COVID-19 in Thailand

The COVID-19 Thailand is the miniature caricature of Thai politics. When it comes to choices of governance, Thais face a dilemma of two evils: the electorate party and the bureaucratic party.

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Living in the Time of the Virus: A Note from Thailand

On paper, the situation in Thailand isn’t as severe as many of our Southeast Asian neighbors. As of April 28, the number of patients infected with coronavirus stands just below 3,000, with 54 fatalities.

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South Korea: Openness, Transparency and Solidarity Coping with COVID-19

100 days have passed since the first positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed on 20 January, 2020, in South Korea. As of this writing (27 April, 2020), the accumulative cases that tested positive have reached 10,738 and fatalities 243. At present, the situation here is relatively stable.

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Duterte’s COVID-19 Powers and the Paradox of the Philippine Presidency

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the Philippines and the rest of the world, President Rodrigo R. Duterte has threatened to impose martial law to instill discipline on people breaking the quarantine law in the country’s largest island of Luzon. “Shoot them dead,” he earlier instructed the military and police in a televised address. “Dead.

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From Rice ATMs to Giving a Helping Hand

Vietnam has 265 cases of the novel coronavirus and zero deaths, numbers that are significantly lower than the rest of the world. But still, to prevent further spread, the government has enforced social distancing, effectively shutting down many small businesses and leaving millions out of work.

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Witness to the Pandemic in Yangon

Monday, 20 April, 2020, Yangon came out of a ten-day stay-at-home order that just happened to coincide with the Thingyan (Buddhist New Year) holiday. Businesses would largely be closed and people stayed at home in any case.

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In Times of Corona

By the end of December 2019, Myanmar was overwhelmed with internet news relating to the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Corona Virus COVID-19 in Wuhan, East China. At the time, in Yangon we had little knowledge about who had been infected by the new virus as the World Health Organization (WHO) level 3 laboratory only arrived at the National Health Laboratory in Yangon in mid-March. The quality of the Burmese health system is widely known to be close to last on a list of over 190 countries, and there has been an emergency situation here.

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COVID-19 & Myanmar

After the announcement from the Burmese Ministry of Health and Sports on 23 March 2020 that the first COVID-19 patient has been found in Myanmar, many changes occured in Myanmar’s society. This was followed by fear and uncertainty.

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COVID-19 in Myanmar: Why Didn’t We Prepare?

During what is now the “time of corona,” people have to stay at home stay and have now flocked to online social media, in particular, Facebook. Even Aung San Suu Kyi, the national leader, become active on the platform to communicate to people. On Facebook many Burmese see her as a hero and they blindly write comments worshipping her.

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Year of the Corona Virus : The Best and the Worst of Times

It has been a month since President Rodrigo Duterte put the entire island of Luzon (where Metro Manila is located) under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), and every single day the apocalyptic nature of this corona virus crisis that has bunkered 63 million people (57% of Filipinos live in Luzon) in their homes is announced by all forms of media. The daily wage earners: tricycle and cab drivers, construction workers, market and street vendors, contractuals, service industry workers, all are painfully at a loss over how to put food on their tables.

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Corona Chronicles: Voices from the Field

In late December 2019, the Coronavirus (COVID-19), an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-2), was identified. In early January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported the first cluster of pneumonia cases. Subsequently, this led to recognition of human-to-human transmission, a virulent outbreak, and the quarantining of Wuhan on the 23 January.

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