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Thailand's new COVID wave slams hospitals, ignites public anger

Malaysia restrictions prove futile; Philippine medical system short of beds

Nurses tend to patients in a coronavirus intensive care unit at Vibhavadi Hospital in Bangkok on April 26.    © AFP/Jiji

BANGKOK -- New waves of the coronavirus have prompted Southeast Asian countries to tighten restrictions on business and social activity as shortages of hospital beds stretch from Thailand to Malaysia to the Philippines.

Bangkok has closed more businesses including cinemas, gyms and parks for two weeks starting Monday, while a majority of the country's provinces have imposed a fine up to 20,000 baht ($635) for failing to wear a face mask in public. Malaysia has had new daily COVID-19 cases hover in the four digits for days despite emergency measures meant to control the spread. The Philippines' cumulative cases reached 1 million on Monday.

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