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Asia virus latest: Myanmar reports first death, China factory turnaround

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Here are the latest developments in Asia related to the coronavirus pandemic:

– First confirmed Myanmar death –
Myanmar reported its first coronavirus death — a 69-year-old man who returned to the country in mid-March after receiving cancer treatment in Australia.

The country of 54 million people, with one of the region’s most under-developed healthcare systems, only confirmed its first case last week.

– World Bank warns on China growth –
Economic fallout from the pandemic could bring China’s growth to a standstill, the World Bank said, warning of “an unprecedented global shock” that could also increase poverty across the region.

Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth in March as businesses grind back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand is devastated by the virus crisis.

– China to report cases without symptoms –
Chinese health officials said that they will start reporting asymptomatic cases in their daily tally from Wednesday. Infected people who are asymptomatic will have to go into quarantine for 14 days, as will their close contacts, they said.

The country where the outbreak emerged last year has successfully reduced the number of locally transmitted cases after large areas were placed under lockdown, but is now seeing a surge in infections from overseas.

– Aussies told to limit booze buying –
Hard-drinking Australians were told to limit themselves to buying just 12 bottles of wine and two cases of beer a day as a coronavirus lockdown saw panic buying of alcohol.

Major retailers agreed to enforce new rules limiting individual purchases as Australians went on a booze-buying spree amid a shutdown of non-essential services — including pubs and bars.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Reps donate two months’ salary to fight disease

Six baggage handlers at Adelaide airport, meanwhile, tested positive for the virus, prompting authorities to warn travellers to disinfect their baggage.

– Hundreds buried in Jakarta, says governor –
The governor of the Indonesian capital Jakarta said nearly 300 suspected and confirmed victims of the virus had been wrapped in plastic and quickly buried since the start of this month.

He has been pushing for a total lockdown of Jakarta, a move so far resisted by the president. His warning fuelled fears that Indonesia’s death toll is higher than the official figure of 122.

– Japan tightens travel advice –
Japan is now advising its citizens to avoid travelling to 73 countries and regions worldwide in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.

People are also being advised to avoid non-essential travel to all other parts of the world, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters.

– Markets bounce back –
Asian equities rose strongly following another rally on Wall Street, while oil bounced and traders welcomed a surprise jump in Chinese factory activity — although analysts cautioned that the road ahead remained rocky for the global economy.

Global markets have suffered historic falls in recent weeks as the virus batters economies worldwide.

– China delays exams; South Korean school year to start –
China is postponing its notoriously difficult college entrance tests from June to July, following months of uncertainty due to the coronavirus outbreak.

South Korea will finally start its three-times-delayed school year next week but all classes will be online.

– Hong Kong sales plunge –
Hong Kong’s retail sales in February fell by a record 44 percent compared to the year before, down to $22.7 billion, mainly reflecting the heavy blow to tourism- and consumption-related activities from the pandemic, officials said.

– Magnet mishap puts would-be inventor in hospital –
An Australian astrophysicist bored by coronavirus isolation saw his attempted invention to stop people catching the disease go hilariously wrong when he landed in hospital with magnets stuck up his nose.

The accident happened when Daniel Reardon, a research fellow at Swinburne University in Melbourne, was working to create a necklace-like device that would buzz when its wearer brought their hands too close to their face.

– Shanghai tourist spots shut, again –
Many major attractions in China’s financial hub Shanghai have closed indefinitely just weeks after they reopened, reflecting fears over a second wave of the virus.

Skyscrapers including the Shanghai Tower — the world’s second-tallest building at 632 metres (2,100 feet) — shut their doors once more to visitors after many began opening from the second week of March.

Other attractions ordered shut are the futuristic Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai Ocean Aquarium and Madame Tussauds.


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