Hong Kong (CNN)After months of lockdown, parts of Southeast Asia are leaving behind their "zero-Covid" policy and charting a path toward living with the virus -- despite experts' warnings that it may be too early to do so.
Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam are leaving their zero-Covid policies behind, but they aren't ready to open up, experts warn
Covid-19 swept across the region this summer, fueled by the highly infectious Delta variant, with cases climbing steeply in July and peaking in most countries by August.
Now, governments including Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are looking to revive their economies -- particularly the vital tourism industry -- by reopening borders and public spaces. But experts worry that low vaccination rates in much of the region, and the widespread use of lower-efficacy vaccines including China's Sinovac, could lead to a catastrophe.
Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the US-based Council on Foreign Relations think tank, said if vaccination rates aren't high enough with high-efficacy vaccines before restrictions are lifted, health care systems in Southeast Asia could quickly become overwhelmed.