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Telehealth services rush to relieve ASEAN hospitals' COVID burden

Startups play bigger role as pandemic spurs demand for online appointments

Indonesian startup Halodoc, which lets customers consult virtually with licensed doctors via the internet, has experienced increasing demand due to the coronavirus. (Photo by Kentaro Iwamoto)

SINGAPORE -- Operators of telehealth services, which allow patients to consult virtually with medical staff, are riding a demand surge in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as the coronavirus pandemic increasingly pushes the healthcare sector online.

In Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore, telehealth providers are seeing use of their services pick up on fears that physical visits to clinics and hospitals could lead to contracting COVID-19 while in range of the infected. Such services hold promise for taking some of the load carried by ASEAN's medical institutions grappling with virus cases.

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