Countries from the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar and Malaysia have regressed from robust democracies or hybrid regimes with some now turning to outright authoritarian rule.
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Many Southeast Asian states have experienced sharp new surges in cases, and some countries could wind up with COVID-19 disasters on a scale with that of India.
Myanmar’s humanitarian crisis is now at a crossroads. The economy has collapsed and the banking system is on life support. The state is also ceasing to function due to the rising violence.
The pandemic is thought to be further entrenching economic and social inequalities.
Although the army has declared a state of emergency for a year, past history in Myanmar with such declarations could easily suggest that the state of emergency could go on for many years.
In Asia in particular, democratic or quasi-democratic governments have taken advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen their grips on power.
Given the uncertainty implied by King Bhumibol's death, and the prospect of an unpopular crown prince eventually reigning, stability seems unlikely in Thailand any time soon.