Singapore and Taiwan, both of which have been effective in successfully containing Covid-19 so far, are implementing aggressive restrictions at home and tightening travel between them.
Authorities in Taiwan have advised residents to stay at home this weekend after a total of 180 new local cases were registered on Saturday, reports Bloomberg.
In Taipei, indoor family and social gatherings will be limited to five people, and outdoor gatherings will be limited to ten.
Indoor dining has been prohibited in Singapore, according to an announcement made on Friday, and working from home will now be the norm, as the city-state re-imposes lockdown-like initiatives it ordered a year ago.
Seven schools will transition to home-based learning in order to "ring-fence" those that are infected, while the city-state prepares to vaccinate those under the age of 16.
The outbreaks and virus-control steps even jeopardised regional travel's reopening. Prior to this, Singapore had permitted Taiwanese visitors to enter without being quarantined.
It announced on Saturday that short-term visitors with travel history to Taiwan in the previous 21 days will be denied entry, while citizens, permanent residents, and long-term pass holders will be required to quarantine when they arrive.
Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center also demoted Singapore, along with Vietnam, to "medium-risk" from a group of low-risk places that include New Zealand, Macau and Australia, pointing to a surge in infections.
Meanwhile, a long-awaited quarantine-free travel corridor between Hong Kong and Singapore, two of Asia's biggest financial centres, may not kick off as planned later this month amid the recurrence of cases in island nation.
Singapore and Taiwan have been seen as the poster children of Covid control success, where locals have largely gone about everyday life without fear of infection as the virus ravaged most of the world.
Taiwan went without a single domestic coronavirus infection between April and December. In Singapore -- the best place to be in the coronavirus era by Bloomberg's Covid Resilience Ranking -- people have attended concerts and gone on cruise trips.
The regression of Covid control progress shows the difficulty of sustaining a virus-free environment, especially when a low level of threat made locals reluctant to get vaccinated. In Taiwan, less than 1% people have been inoculated so far, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.
As a sign of the unpredictability in containing the pandemic, authorities in mainland China, which has been free of locally transmitted cases for about a month, this week reported a handful of local cases in the provinces of Anhui and Liaoning.