Slow vaccination, fast reopening: How Asia and Europe are fuelling surge in Covid-19's Delta variant

A surge in new Covid-19 cases in Europe has threatened to stall plans to gradually remove restrictions that have disrupted normal life for much of the past 1½ years.

Meanwhile, countries like Indonesia and Malaysia are seeing record cases and deaths after the highly infectious Delta and Delta-Plus variants arrived on their shores.

The Sunday Times takes a deeper look at the increasingly grim scenario.

Stricter Covid-19 lockdown keeps Malaysia's Klang Valley quiet even without massive enforcement

Malaysia's strictest Covid-19 restrictions came into effect on Saturday (July 3) in most of the Klang Valley, an area of more than eight million people. 

But tough measures seen in the past such as barbed-wire fences and armed military presence to ensure strict enforcement were absent.

Instead, residents in all but one of nine districts in Selangor and 14 locations in Kuala Lumpur have been able to leave their homes to buy essential items and attend to medical matters, including vaccinations against the deadly coronavirus.

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Partial lockdown in Java, Bali as Covid-19 infections surge

Grocery stores and supermarkets on Indonesia’s Java and Bali islands on Saturday (July 3) began to limit customers to half of their capacity and close by 8pm, as a partial lockdown was imposed to contain the highly infectious Delta variant of Covid-19 that has sent infections and deaths to all- time highs.

Public places like shopping malls, parks and places of worship were closed, while eateries can only do takeaways or deliveries.

Road blocks and checkpoints were set up, with around 50,000 military and police officers deployed to enforce movement restrictions until July 20 across the two islands, which account for 70 per cent of Covid-19 cases nationwide.

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As EU relaxes summer travel curbs, experts warn of Covid-19 super spreaders

The peak summer tourist season often spells make-or-break for thousands of businesses across the European Union but stubbornly high Covid-19 case numbers threaten to play party pooper.

It is a Catch-22 situation for policymakers who need to resuscitate the economy but face the danger of rapid coronavirus contagion and angry voters.

After last summer's holiday season was washed out by the pandemic, Brussels thinks it has a solution to prevent infected travellers spreading the virus elsewhere: a vaccine passport.

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