Southeast Asia Sees Surge in COVID-19 Infections as Authorities Battle Variants of CCP Virus

June 1, 2021 Updated: June 8, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic is currently surging in Southeast Asia, due in part to new variants of the CCP virus.

The Vietnamese government reported 161 new daily infection cases as of the early afternoon on June 1, bringing the nation’s total number of cases to 7,482, with at least 47 deaths related to the virus. The country was reporting double-digit infection cases in early May before seeing a spike on May 15 with 169 new infections and another spike of 447 cases on May 25.

On May 29, Vietnamese health minister Nguyen Thanh Long held an online meeting during which he spoke of a new hybrid of the virus that had characteristics of both the Indian and the UK variants, according to local media. A total of at least seven variants of the CCP virus have been documented in Vietnam. Long also warned that the virus was spreading fast in the country.

Neighboring country Malaysia began a two-week lockdown on June 1, as the country braved a new wave of infection. The Malaysian government reported 7,105 new infection cases, putting the total number of people infected at 579,462. The death toll stood at 2,796 as of May 31.

Malaysia’s Director-General of Health Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said on May 31 that 119 cases in the country were linked to variants of the virus, according to local media. These variants included B.1.351, first detected in South Africa, and B.1.617, first found in India.

The outbreak in Malaysia is particularly alarming because of the number of infections among young people. On May 31, Malaysian Health Minister Dr. Adham Baba said there were 82,341 cases among people under the age of 17, among them 19,851 cases of children under the age of 4, according to local newspaper The Star.

At least four variants of the virus have been found in Thailand, according to local media. In response to the lockdown in Malaysia, Thailand has tightened its border with Malaysia to prevent illegal border crossing.

On June 1, the Thai government reported 38 new deaths related to the CCP virus, bringing the national death toll to 1,069. Thailand has a total of 162,022 cases after reporting 2,230 new cases on June 1.

COVID-19, a disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, first appeared in China’s central city of Wuhan in late 2019, when a cluster of cases was linked to a local wet market. Now, more than a year later, the origins of the virus remain unknown.

More than 200 House Republicans sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on May 28, calling on her fellow Democrats and her to support a virus origin probe in order to “hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for its role in causing the global COVID-19 pandemic.”

As of June 1, there were over 33.2 million infection cases in the United States, with over 594,560 deaths related to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll now stands at over 3.55 million.

The World Health Organization has announced using Greek letters to name the different variants of the CCP virus. For example, the B.1.351 is now given the label “Beta.”

Julia Ye contributed to the article. 

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