Here are the latest developments in Asia related to the coronavirus pandemic:
– India lockdown extended –
India — home to the world’s largest anti-virus lockdown, affecting 1.3 billion people — has extended the measure through the end of May, after recording its biggest single-day jump in cases.
Schools, places of worship, shopping malls, cinemas and gyms must remain closed, and domestic and international air travel will remain suspended, the home ministry said.
But in a bid to ease the economic pain, restaurants will now be allowed to operate for takeaway services. Sports complexes and stadiums are permitted to host events — but without spectators.
Nepal extended its lockdown until June 2, after recording its second death.
Both countries have been on lockdown since late March.
– Virus takes toll on Bangladesh police –
More than 2,000 police officers in Bangladesh have been infected with the coronavirus after tens of thousands were deployed around the country to enforce a lockdown, officials told AFP.
A police source said at least eight officers had died and 2,384 have been infected with the virus.
– Park wins ‘virus-proofed’ LPGA tournament –
The world’s first big-purse post-coronavirus golf tournament wrapped up in South Korea, marked by a ban on spectators and stringent safety measures.
Players in the Korean LPGA Championship — featuring three of the world’s top 10 women — had to wear masks before and after their rounds but could choose whether or not to do so during play, with most deciding against.
Park Hyun-kyung, the 20-year-old champion who took home $180,000 in winnings, was congratulated by her mask-wearing peers with elbow-bumps instead of handshakes.
– Long queues as Thai malls reopen –
Shoppers flocked to Thailand’s top-end malls, eager for retail therapy in a gradual easing of restrictions to revive the virus-ravaged economy.
Hundreds of masked customers passed through temperature checks and disinfection stations, and had their photos taken before they were allowed into plush malls in Bangkok.
– China’s second wave warning –
A top Chinese medical official said the country faces a potential second wave of coronavirus infections due to a lack of immunity among its population.
“The majority of… Chinese at the moment are still susceptible of the COVID-19 infection, because (of) a lack of immunity,” Zhong Nanshan, the public face of the government’s response to the pandemic, told CNN.
“We are facing (a) big challenge,” Zhong added. “It’s not better than the foreign countries, I think, at the moment.”
– Aussie jails see spike in ‘special deliveries’ –
Prisons in Australia have seen a spike in drugs intercepted in mail since visits were suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, with substances concealed in letters, cards and even a child’s painting, officials said.
Corrective Services NSW, which operates prisons in Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales, said contraband had been seized from 135 mail items in April — compared to a monthly average of around 22 in 2019.
– Hamster tests show masks reduce coronavirus spread: scientists –
Tests on hamsters reveal the widespread use of face masks reduces transmission of the deadly coronavirus, a team of leading experts in Hong Kong said.
The research by the University of Hong Kong is some of the first to specifically investigate whether masks can stop symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers from infecting others.
Surgical masks were placed between the two cages with air flow travelling from the infected animals to the healthy ones.
The researchers found non-contact transmission of the virus could be reduced by more than 60 percent when the masks were used.
© Agence France-Presse