Overall, the number of cases of COVID-19 in the region of Southeast Asia where we operate is quite low. In order to avoid a tremendous growth of the pandemic as was seen in Europe, the countries of action of Children of the Mekong have all taken strong decisions: closing their borders, cancellation of international flights…
The impact on education is, as of now, quite low as most of the Southeast Asian countries slow down at this time of the year, because of water festivals or school holidays.
Thanks to our network of local managers, the action of Children of the Mekong is maintained and now more than ever, necessary as it is the most unfortunate ones who are at increased risk of suffering from this pandemic. Aside from special cases, and you will be informed if your sponsored child is concerned, the sponsorships and your support will be dispatched to the families and will allow, in this time of unrest, to fulfil the physiological needs of the families: distribution of bags of rice and hygiene kits.
Evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic on the 6th of May 2020
News from each country of action of Children of the Mekong:
VIETNAM: SITUATION AS OF THE 5TH OF MAY 2020
• 271 confirmed cases and no death to be deplored yet.
• The country has taken efficient measures: mass usage of masks and forbidding any meeting.
• The country reacted really fast to the outbreak of the virus by closing its borders with China at the end of January. During the Chinese and Vietnamese New year, there had been no population movement in between the two countries for two weeks.
• Schools and Universities remain closed and will progressively reopen in some areas.
• The lockdown has strong consequences for the poorest families who no longer benefit from any income.
• During the first quarter of 2020, the price of rice on the world markets increased by 29.5%. This rise is likely to have serious consequences on the families who eat it every day. Many requests for food aid have been reported by our local volunteers.
PHILIPPINES: SITUATION AS OF THE 5TH OF MAY 2020
• 637 deaths, mostly in Manilla and Cebu. Those cities do not appear to have reached the peak yet and the people remain on lockdown. Wearing a mask is compulsory, as well as maintaining a 1-meter distance with others when going out.
• The country is overwhelmed by the mass arrival of Filipino workers who lost their job abroad. This phenomenon is raising fear over a possible augmentation of cases.
• A quarantine is being put in place everywhere: schools, universities, malls and restaurants remain closed… The re-opening of schools isn’t expected until September 2020.
• Inter-Island connections have been stopped (by plane, boat and road)
• The lockdown has severe consequences for the poorest families very often their jobs have been suspended and they are having trouble feeding themselves.
• Local authorities have helped the families most in need by distributing food, but this support seems to be ending. Coming out of lockdown will be very difficult for the poorest families.
CAMBODIA: SITUATION AS OF THE 5TH OF MAY 2020
• There are 122 confirmed cases in the country, only two of them are still in hospital.
• Schools and education centres remain closed as of now.
• Classes are available online. This has necessitated a big amount of work from both the government and Children of the Mekong to allow children to have access to them.
• During the first quarter of 2020, the price of rice on the world markets increased by 29.5%. This rise is likely to have serious consequences on the families who eat it every day.
• The lockdown has severe consequences for the poorest families who are having trouble feeding themselves because very often their jobs have been suspended. In the two months coming up, 50kg of rice will be distributed to the family of each sponsored child, of which there are 2,643 in Cambodia. These will be given at the same time as the sponsorship and provided against a signature.
THAILAND: SITUATION AS OF THE 5TH OF MAY 2020
• Very few new cases have been detected since the beginning of May. Therefore, the country will progressively coming out of lockdown and community places will start to re-open. However, travel to different provinces will remain forbidden.
• The Bangkok area is in semi-lockdown, only drugstores and shops providing food are open.
• All schools and universities, whether they be public or private are closed.
• Thousands of people, who feel stuck and have lost their livelihoods have to rely on food aid and say they are ready to do anything to survive. (source: https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2020/05/03/en-thailande-le-covid-propage-la-pauvrete-et-la-famine_1787040)
LAOS: SITUATION AS OF THE 5TH OF MAY 2020
• 19 confirmed cases as of the 5th of May
• The country has closed its borders and its schools as a prevention measure on the 16th of March, but Laos will progressively re-open for the business visas holders.
• As of now, there have been no restrictions on travel within the country. Economic activity goes on, although slowed by the closure of the country’s borders.
MYANMAR: SITUATION AS OF THE 5TH OF MAY 2020
• Borders in between states have closed this weekend. Schools, Universities and training centres remain closed as well as movie theatres and public places.
• There are heavy economical consequences for the country: tourism from China had doubled between 2018 and 2019, however the current situation has caused it to decrease drastically. Factories have closed, especially in the textile industry. Exports have also suffered and strongly decreased.
• The lockdown has severe consequences for the poorest families, very often their jobs have been suspended and they are having trouble feeding themselves.
• The poor families most in need of our help have been identified by our local managers in three areas in the country. They will receive food and basic necessities for one month against signature on a sign-in sheet: 1,535 families in the Kayah State (rice, oil, noodles and soap), 60 families in the Yangon region (rice, oil, onions, noodles, eggs, spices and potatoes) and 8 families in the Irrawaddy Delta (rice, oil, spices, soap, washing powder, medicines …).