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The delta variant is challenging the part of the world that’s been most successful in blunting the economic impact of COVID-19, with Asian countries that snuffed it out locking down again as the virus returns, and others seeing the world’s highest death rates.

Just 12 months ago, the Asia-Pacific region’s rapid containment of COVID-19 made them it envy of the world as the virus ravaged the U.S. and Europe. Now, from Seoul to Sydney, Bangkok to Beijing, authorities are reimposing growth-sapping restrictions as low vaccination rates in many of those places leave their populations vulnerable.

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