The region as a whole has reported more than 28,000 cases as of Sunday, according to data by Johns Hopkins University. Collectively, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore account for 87.9% of total cases reported in Southeast Asia, the data showed.While the region’s tally is still far off the hundreds of thousands seen in the U.S. and some European nations, several studies suggest that tens of thousands more infections could be undetected due to the low testing rate in countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines.
Meanwhile in Singapore, cases have spiked dramatically in the last two weeks, with new clusters of infections found among migrant workers living in packed dormitories — even as the government’s handling of the outbreak was at one time hailed internationally as a model for others to follow.
“The fact is ... cases have been ramping up here in Southeast Asia,” Simon Tay, chairman of think tank Singapore Institute of International Affairs, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” last week. Tay said governments must act quickly to contain the outbreak. “We do need to act. The Philippine testing numbers, the Indonesian testing numbers are far too low,” he added.