the the Asia-Pacific region, the countries that led the world in containing the coronavirus are now languishing in the race to put it behind them.

the  the Asia-Pacific region, the countries that led the world in containing the coronavirus are now languishing in the race to put it behind them.

With hundreds of millions of people still unvaccinated from China to New Zealand and with anxious leaders keeping international borders shut for the foreseeable future the tolerance for constrained lives is thinning, even as the new variants intensify the threat.

 United States, which has suffered far more grievous outbreaks, is now filling stadiums with vaccinated fans and cramming airplanes with summer vacationers, the pandemic champions of the East are still stuck in a cycle of uncertainty, restrictions and isolation.

In southern China, the spread of the Delta variant led to a sudden lockdown last week in Guangzhou, a major industrial capital. Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and Australia have also clamped down after recent outbreaks, while Japan is dealing with its own weariness from a fourth round of infections, spiked with fears of viral disaster from the Olympics.

In some places, like Vietnam, Taiwan and Thailand, vaccination campaigns are barely underway. Others, like China, Japan, South Korea and Australia, have seen a sharp rise in inoculations in recent weeks, while remaining far from offering vaccines to all who want one.

But nearly everywhere in the region, the trend lines point to a reversal of fortune. While Americans celebrate what feels like a new dawn, for many of Asia’s 4.6 billion people, the rest of this year will look a lot like the last, with extreme suffering for some and others left in a limbo of subdued normalcy.

Or there could be more volatility. Worldwide, businesses are watching whether the new outbreak in southern China will affect busy port terminals there. Across Asia, faltering vaccine rollouts could also open the door to spiraling variant-fueled lockdowns that inflict new damage on economies, push out political leaders and alter power dynamics between nations.

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