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Coronavirus

Virus testing gap proves critical in Southeast Asia and India

Vietnam's success credited to early action, as cases rise in laggard Indonesia

Hanoi residents wait for coronavirus testing at a makeshift rapid testing center in late March.   © Reuters

TOKYO/HANOI -- A speedy rollout of mass testing for the coronavirus appears to be a crucial yardstick in determining the human and economic toll inflicted on various Asian countries by the pandemic.

Vietnam, which reacted quickly, has reported just 288 cases so far, with no deaths. But fatalities have topped 2,000 in India and 1,000 in Indonesia, where testing rates are climbing more slowly.

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