Endemic Covid-19: Can S-E Asia stay on track despite Omicron?

Despite setbacks, governments must embrace an ‘antifragile’ approach that prioritises adaptability to changing circumstances over a simple recovery to the status quo.

Thai dancers wearing face masks and shields during a performance at the tourist spot of Erawan Shrine in Bangkok on Tuesday, amid the spread of the Omicron variant. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
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Prior to the Omicron variant's emergence, several South-east Asian countries, including Singapore, announced strategies to treat Covid-19 as an endemic disease on the back of rising vaccination rates and stabilising case numbers in recent months.

The attempt by the region to move away from seeking to eradicate the virus through costly lockdowns had been accompanied by a gradual relaxation of public health measures and a cautious reopening of borders.

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