Coronavirus Outbreak
People wearing face masks are seen in an underpass leading to a subway station in the morning after the extended Lunar New Year holiday caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak, in Shanghai (Photo: REUTERS/Aly Song)

Fears are still rampant across Asia as the new coronavirus has yet to be contained and a vaccine is around a year or so away from being developed. However, hopes are high in several southeast Asian countries amid selfless acts, better screening, and continuous health reminders.

Cruise Ship Wandering at Sea Due to Coronavirus Stigma Docks in Cambodia

After two harrowing weeks at sea, cruise ship MS Westerdam finally docked in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. The ship was turned away by five countries due to fears that there may be passengers or crew members infected by the Wuhan coronavirus.

According to Reuters, the countries that turned away MS Westerdam, including its 802 crew members and 1,455 passengers, were Thailand, Japan, the Philippines, Guam, and Taiwan due to fears around the coronavirus.

The Cambodian government has since received praise from global health leaders, including World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Shortly before the cruise ship was allowed to dock at the Cambodian port town, Tedros noted that such outbreaks "can bring out the best and the worst in people." He added that Cambodia's act of sacrifice despite fears around the new virus is the perfect example of "international solidarity."

While health checks were already carried out on board the ship, MS Westerdam captain Vincent Smit told passengers in a letter that appropriate screenings will also be implemented by Cambodian health authorities.

Nearly 200 PUIs in the Philippines Test Negative of CoViD-2019

The number of persons under investigation (PUIs) from the Wuhan coronavirus (CoViD-2019) in the Philippines has risen over the past few days but the toll of PUIs testing negative of the virus strain has also increased.

According to the Manila Bulletin, DZBB Radio reported on Wednesday that almost 200 patients who were being monitored for potential infection have tested negative of the virus, while 266 remain under medical observation.

Aside from the rising number of PUIs testing negative in the country, Eastern Visayas also confirmed that there is only one remaining PUI case in the region.

The Sun Star reported that Eastern Visayas has also discharged a total of 13 PUI cases, as confirmed by local health officials. The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) continues to encourage people with travel history in countries that confirmed coronavirus cases to cooperate with health facilities for monitoring.

Singapore Reports 8 Critical Patients

In Singapore, health authorities warned on Wednesday that eight coronavirus patients who are in critical condition may "succumb to the infection." The city-state now has a total of 50 confirmed cases.

While the city-state noted that the critical patients will receive proper care in intensive care units, there could be bigger problems in the near future, Singaporean Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong pointed out.

According to the South China Morning Post, Gan explained that health experts in Singapore believe most of the coronavirus patients will recover. However, they also believe that some who are in worse conditions may give in to the fast-spreading virus.

The Singaporean government has since committed to paying off hospital bills for the city-state's coronavirus patients admitted in public hospitals.

Malaysia Collaborates with Singapore for Joint Anti-Coronavirus Efforts

Malaysia's Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad and his Singaporean counterpart, Gan, spoke earlier this week to tackle issues at the center of the CoViD-2019 strain's spreading, especially as the countries are trading partners.

After a video conference between the two, the countries agreed to form a joint working group that should help strengthen the countries' health regulations as part of the efforts to stop the novel coronavirus from spreading, Malaysian newspaper The Star reported.

Dr Dzulkefly pointed out that due to the large number of people traveling between the two countries, it is crucial to "strengthen and enhance" cooperation so as to effectively manage the outbreak.