BANGKOK — Several countries around Asia and the Pacific experiencing their first major surges of the coronavirus have rushed to implement tough restrictions.
The measures come a year and a half into a pandemic that many initially weathered well. Faced with rapidly rising infections in recent months, authorities hope the measures being imposed Friday can slow the spread before health care systems are overwhelmed.
Thailand reported a record number of new deaths on Thursday with 75 — and they came in at 72 on Friday. South Korea set a record for number of new cases on Thursday, only to break it on Friday with 1,316 infections, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. For the first time, Indonesia is seeing a surge that has hospitals turning patients away and oxygen supplies running out.
It’s a scene familiar in much of the world, where repeated surges deluged hospitals and led to high numbers of deaths. Many Asian countries avoided that cycle by imposing stiff travel restrictions combined with tough measures at home.