METHODS: COVID-19 data on cases, deaths, testing, and vaccinations were extracted from the Our World in Data (OWID) COVID-19 data repository for all the ten ASEAN countries. Comparative time-trends of the epidemiology of COVID-19 using the incidence rate, cumulative case fatality rate (CFR), delay-adjusted case fatality rate, cumulative mortality rate (MR), test positivity rate (TPR), cumulative testing rate (TR) and vaccination rate was carried out.
RESULTS: Over the study period, a total of 12,720,661 cases and 271,475 deaths was reported within the ASEAN region. Trends of daily per capita cases were observed to peak between July and September 2021 for the ASEAN region. The cumulative case fatality rate (CFR) in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, was of 0.9% (N=68), 2.2% (N=2,610), 3.5% (N=142,889), 0.1% (N=36), 1.2% (N=27,700), 4.0% (N=18,297), 1.6% (N=40,424), 0.1% (N=215), 1.7% (N=18,123), and 2.6% (N=21,043), respectively. CFR was consistently highest between January-June 2020. The cumulative mortality rate (MR) was 9.5, 13.7, 51.4, 0.2, 80.3, 32.4, 34.5, 1.6, 23.9 and 19.7 per 100,000 population, respectively. The cumulative test positivity rate (TPR) was 8.4%, 16.9%, 4.6%, 7.5%, 11.1%, 12.9%, 0.5%, 11.7%, and 3.6%, with the cumulative testing rate (TR) at 25.0, 90.1, 27.4, 917.7, 75.8, 177.8, 3303.3, 195.2, and 224.9 tests per 1,000 population in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, respectively. The percentage of population that completed vaccinations (VR) was 44.5%, 65.3%, 18.5%, 28.2%, 61.8%, 6.8%, 19.2%, 76.8%, 22.7%, and 10% in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, respectively.
CONCLUSION: In 2020, most countries in ASEAN had higher case fatality rates but lower mortalities per population when compared to the third quarter of 2021 where higher mortalities per population were observed. Low testing rates have been one of the factors leading to high test positivity rates. Slow initiation of vaccination programs was found to be the key factor leading to high incidence and case fatality rate in most countries in ASEAN. Effective public health measures were able to interrupt the transmission of this novel virus to some extent. Increasing preparedness capacity within the ASEAN region is critical to ensure that any future similar outbreaks can be dealt with collectively.