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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 247-251

The COVID-19 pandemic in the ASEAN: A preliminary report on the spread, burden and medical capacities

1 Hanoi University of Public Health, Hanoi, Vietnam
2 Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi, Vietnam
3 Graduate School of Public Health, St. Luke's International University, Tokyo, Japan
4 United Nations University-Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), Tokyo, Japan

Correspondence Address:
Minh Van Hoang
Hanoi University of Public Health, Hanoi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1995-7645.284644

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Objective: To provide preliminary descriptions of the spread, burden and related medical capacity characteristics of the ASEAN countries. Methods: We utilized the data from four main official databases, including WHO reports, the Statistics and Research of the Coronavirus Disease, and the Southeast Asia Program of the Center for Strategic and International Study. The spread of the COVID- 19 pandemic, current burden and the COVID-19 medical response capacities were extracted before April 11, 2020. Results: As of April 13, 2020, the ASEAN countries reported 19 547 COVID-19 positive cases with 817 deaths (case-facility rate of 4.2%). Thailand was the first country in the region that reported having the COVID-19 cases, while Laos was the last to report confirmed COVID-19 cases. Durations for the number of deaths to double were between 8-12 days. For the testing and treatment capacities, the number of PCR tests provided to the populations was the highest in Vietnam, followed by Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. Meanwhile, the percentage of the population being tested was the highest in Brunei (2.31%), followed by Singapore (1.30%). Conclusions: A wide range of interventions were taken into practice in response to the outbreak with an effort of curbing the rise of this pandemic. However, special care should not be overlooked as the pandemic is placing a huge impact on the population and becomes increasingly unpredictable. To tackle the spread of the pandemic in the region, the ASEAN countries should work together as one community to provide better responses to future pandemics and other transboundary public health challenges.

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