from Asia Unbound

Mainland Southeast Asia's Battle Against COVID-19

Students wearing face masks and face shields sit as they attend a flag-raising ceremony as schools nationwide reopened, in Pathum Thani province, Thailand on July 1, 2020.
Students wearing face masks and face shields sit as they attend a flag-raising ceremony as schools nationwide reopened, in Pathum Thani province, Thailand on July 1, 2020. Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

August 11, 2020

Students wearing face masks and face shields sit as they attend a flag-raising ceremony as schools nationwide reopened, in Pathum Thani province, Thailand on July 1, 2020.
Students wearing face masks and face shields sit as they attend a flag-raising ceremony as schools nationwide reopened, in Pathum Thani province, Thailand on July 1, 2020. Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters
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More on:

Southeast Asia

Coronavirus

Thailand

Myanmar

Cambodia

With the exception of Thailand, the five countries of mainland Southeast Asia are some of the poorest in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the World Bank, Cambodia has a per capita GDP of around $1,500, while Myanmar’s is roughly $1,300. Laos and Vietnam fare only marginally better, each at just over $2,500. Their political systems run the gamut from semi-democracies to authoritarian one-party states. Yet they effectively suppressed COVID-19, proving far more effective in addressing the pandemic than most developed countries, including the United States. For more on why mainland Southeast Asia has had such success, see my new World Politics Review article.

More on:

Southeast Asia

Coronavirus

Thailand

Myanmar

Cambodia

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