Singapore, Malaysia see surge in COVID infections

The Southeast Asian countries of Singapore and Malaysia are seeing a surge in coronavirus infections despite their relatively successful vaccination rollouts.

Singapore's health authorities say the country's vaccination ratio reached 81 percent on Sunday. That's among the world's highest figures.

But the daily tally of infections has been on a steady rise since late August as the highly transmissible Delta variant spreads. Authorities reported 607 new cases on Monday, about six times the number of three weeks before.

Singaporean health authorities say their vaccination drive has held down seriously ill patient numbers, noting that they have no plans to impose strict restrictions on economic and other activities at the moment.

Meanwhile, the authorities are urging the elderly and their family members to avoid non-essential outings and reduce person-to-person contacts.

In neighboring Malaysia, 53 percent of the population had received two vaccine doses as of Monday, but the country has recorded around 20,000 cases every day for several weeks running. The daily death toll hit 592 on Saturday.

Malaysia's health authorities called on people to keep wearing face masks and avoid crowded areas even after they have been given two jabs. Some parts of Malaysia have seen spikes in case numbers even though they have a vaccination rate above 80 percent.