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Asia sees resurgence of COVID cases: ‘It’s going to impact business hard’

COVID-19 cases have surged in a number of Asian countries that previously were noted for their success in stifling the virus. The development is leaving some to wonder if anything short of herd immunity will suppress the virus.

In Vietnam, 34 new cases have been generated from the beach city of Da Nang and other cities. The outbreak has prompted the government to evacuate and quarantine 80,000 tourists from Da Nang fearing that if the travelers return to their homes, it could spark further outbreaks around the country.

So far, the South East Asian country of 98 million people has only reported 450 cases of the COVID-19 virus with no fatalities. Still, the outbreak has caused widespread arrests of illegal Chinese aliens who authorities suspect of transmitting the virus.

“The government has not officially linked the new cases to illegal immigration,” says Voice of America (VOA). “But Prime Minister [Nguyen Xuan] Phuc has ordered police to restrict illegal entries. And state media on Sunday said police in Da Nang had arrested a 42-year-old Chinese man. He was suspected of smuggling people across the border from China.”

Reuters reports that Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has indicated that the strain of the virus is different than the previous outbreak, being more contagious.

“We have to act more swiftly and more fiercely in order to control the outbreak,” VTV quoted Phuc as saying.

Hong Kong, which was also hailed as a COVID success, is on the verge of a virus crisis, says head of government Carrie Lam. Hong Kong has been at the center of controversy over China’s suspension of autonomy for the island after the passage of a national security law in Beijing.

“The semi-autonomous Chinese territory until a few weeks ago,” says Time, “had used border controls and tracking and tracing to keep cases under control through successive waves of COVID-19. Despite its close transport links to Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated, and its high population density, Hong Kong managed to largely stop the original outbreak from crossing the border from the mainland in January and February.”

In part that was due to Chinese Communist restrictions on travel to Hong Kong from the mainland. Since the passage of the new national security law, Chinese authorities have poured into the city, hoping to secure the plunder created by the new law.  

To the east, Japan also is seeing an alarming increase in COVID cases that they can’t explain.

“Japan confirmed Wednesday a new daily record for COVID-19 infections, topping more than 1,000 cases for the first time since the pandemic began. Japanese broadcaster NHK reports the daily total surpasses 1,200 cases, but the exact number of new cases could not be verified,” says VOA.  

Authorities in Vietnam and Hong say that the virus has adapted, mutated and become more easily transmitted from person to person and that may be one reason for the resurgence of the virus.

“We’re hoping it doesn’t spread out, because if it does, they’ll do another lockdown, and it’s going to impact business hard,” said Jack Nguyen, a partner in a Ho Chi Minh tax firm.

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