Hot Off The Press

These are the top stories making the front pages of major newspapers from across Southeast Asia today. 

Get up to speed with what’s happening in the fastest growing region in the world.  

Coronavirus can still be beaten, too early to declare pandemic: WHO chief Tedros

The coronavirus outbreak can still be beaten, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday (24 Feb), insisting it was premature to declare it a pandemic even though it had the potential to reach that level.

"The key message that should give all countries hope, courage and confidence is that this virus can be contained, indeed there are many countries that have done exactly that," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva.

"Using the word 'pandemic' now does not fit the facts but may certainly cause fear," he added as the number of cases continued to mount internationally and financial markets spun lower. – The Straits Times

Some countries slow to respond to virus

The outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is breaking through the globe’s epidemic prevention system. The risk of the epidemic spreading out of control worldwide is increasing. Apart from China, the worst-affected countries, for the moment, are Japan, South Korea, Iran and Italy. The population size of each of these countries is roughly equivalent to that of a province in China. The situation in these countries, if compared with Chinese provinces other than Hubei, is already serious.

These countries are now paying growing attention to the risks posed by the epidemic and have taken some measures. For example, South Korea has postponed the new school year, Italy has locked down some towns where the epidemic situation is severe. Some Serie A matches in Italy were suspended. Iran has cancelled all art and cinema events until the end of the week. – Khmer Times

Việt Nam successfully performs world's first limb transplant from live donor

Vietnam has successfully conducted the world's first limb transplant from a live donor, Central Military Hospital 108 announced on Monday.

Doctors at the Central Military Hospital 108 performed the operation, opening up new opportunities for treating patients with damaged limbs, said doctor Mai Hồng Bàng, director of the hospital. – Viet Nam News

'Cabinet is dissolved'

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has dissolved the Cabinet on the advice of the interim Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Mohd Zuki Ali said the King had dissolved the Cabinet effective immediately in accordance with Article 43 (5) of the Federal Constitution in line with the resignation of the prime minister. – New Straits Times

Network chief to Duterte: Sorry

ABS-CBN Corp. finally apologized to President Rodrigo Duterte for its failure to air his political ads during the 2016 campaign period.

ABS-CBN President Carlo Katigbak said Duterte’s camp paid PHP182 million (US$3.5 million) worth of commercial spots — PHP117 million (US$2.2 million) for national ads and PHP65 million (US$1.2 million) for provincial spots. The ads for national spots were aired, but those for the provinces were not. – The Manila Times