COVID-19 cases hit new highs in Southeast Asia

COVID-19 cases hit new highs in Southeast Asia
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A number of Southeast Asian countries are reporting new highs in the number of COVID-19 cases as the delta variant causes spikes worldwide, Reuters reported on Monday.

Thai officials reported 15,736 new cases on Monday, and neighboring Malaysia reported a record number of infections with 17,045 new cases. 

Southeast Asia’s most populous nation, Indonesia, which has reported more than 3.1 million cases, set a record in COVID-19 deaths with 1,656 on Friday, and Myanmar, which is under a military coup, recorded a record of 355 deaths on Sunday, according to Reuters. 

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The rise in cases caused Malaysian health officials to stage a walkout in protest at hospitals, demanding permanent positions and better pay. 

"Almost 150 medical staff have resigned this year because they are fatigued with the current system," a Malaysian health official told Reuters. 

A local Thai resident named Charn told the news agency that the virus would be eliminated in the country if everyone gets vaccinated, Reuters reported. 

The new rise in virus cases comes amid various countries, including Thailand and Malaysia, establishing stricter lockdowns to combat the spread. Philippine authorities have suspended travel to both countries due to the rise of virus cases. 

Recently, Indonesian officials have relaxed their COVID-19 restrictions, allowing traditional markets and restaurants to reopen. 

Malaysia has just 16.9 percent of its population vaccinated against the virus, Reuters noted.