Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong are witnessing fresh waves of coronavirus infections, as the growing number of cases around the world test their successful early defenses against the disease.
Singapore reported 23 new cases late Tuesday, its highest daily count since the epidemic started. Taiwan recorded a single-day high of 10 cases of infection, bringing its total to 77. Hong Kong added five new cases—a day after it recorded nine—the most since Feb 9.
Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, which were hit early by the fast spreading coronavirus because of their close economic and social ties with China, have been lauded for effectively controlling initial outbreaks with fast and aggressive responses. Now, they face fresh challenges as coronavirus cases soar in Europe and the Middle East and returning travelers bring back new risks.
“The trouble with this virus is that it is very unpredictable. We do not know who will be at the center of a super-spreading event,” said Paul Anantharajah Tambyah, the president of the Asia-Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection. “We are not safe in any place until everyone all over the world is safe.”
Globally, cases of infection rose to more than 182,000 on Tuesday and the number of deaths hit 7,155, according to Johns Hopkins University. The fast rise has set off more lockdowns and travel halts.
The Trump administration urged Americans to put off traveling and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, as infections and deaths outside China exceeded those inside. Its guidance expanded on earlier restrictions that banned most inbound travel from Europe and the U.K.