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Saturday, March 28, 2020, 17:57
Singapore advises public to stay indoors and buy food online
By Agencies
Saturday, March 28, 2020, 17:57 By Agencies

A visitor sits on the empty quayside during the evening 'happy hour' beside the Singapore river in Singapore, on March 27, 2020. (PHOTO / BOOMBERG)

MELBOURNE / SINGAPORE / CAIRO - Singapore advised the public to stay at home in its latest effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, a day after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the city state is facing a grave economic challenge posed by the pandemic.

The public should only head to malls for essential items such as food, the government said in an advisory on its official WhatsApp channel, suggesting that people “buy food and groceries online.” 

The government also advised all foreign workers and foreign domestic workers to stay at their residence on their days off, and reiterated the importance of safe-distancing measures.

Singapore has so far refrained from ordering a nationwide lockdown, even as confirmed cases have risen to 732. 

Separately, Asia security summit Shangri-La Dialogue has been canceled, organizers IISS said. 

The annual event, scheduled to be held in Singapore between June 5-7, has attracted top level military officials, diplomats and weapons makers from around the globe since its launch in 2002.


Australian troops will begin on Saturday taking citizens returning from overseas to compulsory quarantine places to prevent spread of the coronavirus, as Victoria officials closed beaches on a warm autumn day amid public resistance, warning of fines.

The compulsory self-isolation for travelers in hotels and other lodgings across Australia comes as the country gradually tightens its social distancing rules, which have so far confused many.

While Australia shut down mass gathering venues, closed many businesses and introduced the mandatory 14-day quarantine for those returning from abroad, there is no national order to stay home, although the government has said that those who can must stay inside.

Victoria Police Minister Lisa Neville said those flouting coronavirus restrictions could face on-the-spot fines of more than A$1,600 (US$986.40), while businesses could be penalized more than US$10,000 if they do not adhere to strict social distancing and quarantining requirements.

The country’s total number of confirmed coronavirus cases jumped by 469 to 3,635 on Saturday, the federal health ministry said, from less than 100 at the start of March. The case number has leapt about 30% since Thursday, with most infections in NSW and Victoria states. 14 deaths have been reported. 


Afghanistan's Public Health Ministry reported 14 more confirmed cases of coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the total number to 110.

The newly recorded infections included four US and NATO-led coalition soldiers and two foreign diplomats in Kabul.


Brunei reported its first coronavirus death on Saturday, that of a 64-year-old man.

Brunei has reported 115 cases of the virus so far, some of which were linked to a religious gathering in Malaysia that authorities said had been attended by about 16,000 people.

The man who died had not attended the gathering but had a history of travel to Malaysia and Cambodia.


Cambodia's Ministry of Health (MoH) said on Saturday that four more persons tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of the confirmed cases in the kingdom to 102.

The new patients are a Cambodian family of four members including a 62-year-old father, 61-year-old mother, a 39-year-old son and a 37-year-old daughter, the ministry said in a statement.


The death toll from COVID-19 in India rose to 19 on Saturday morning, the Indian health ministry said.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India rose to 873.

The Indian government began a 21-day lockdown across the country Wednesday in a bid to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Authorities have imposed strict curfew-like restrictions to prevent the movement of people.


The COVID-19 death toll in Indonesia surpassed 100 by noon local time on Saturday, according to the Indonesian government.

At a press conference, the government's spokesperson for the all coronavirus-related matters Achmad Yurianto said that a total of 102 people have died of the COVID-19, and 1,155 cases were confirmed in the archipelagic country.

Medical workers oversee the disinfection of the streets to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Qamishli, Syria, March 24, 2020. (PHOTO / AP)


Iran’s health infrastructure is strong and ready to cope with a possible escalation in coronavirus cases, President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday on state TV.

The Iranian authorities on Friday announced the launch of a one-week social distancing plan amid the coronavirus epidemic across the country.

The plan requires all schools, universities, shopping malls, parks, swimming pools and entertainment facilities to be closed for the period, with the aim of stopping gatherings and avoiding unnecessary movements. 

Iran's health ministry has so far reported 32,332 coronavirus cases across the country, of whom 2,378 have died.


Israel reported on Friday two new death cases from the novel coronavirus, bringing the death toll to 12.

The two deceased men, 73 and 80 respectively, had both suffered from many other diseases, according to Rambam and Wolfson medical centers.

Israel has so far reported 3,035 coronavirus cases, 47 of whom are in serious condition, according to the country's health ministry. 


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday requested people to refrain from non-essential meetings and said coronavirus infections could escalate if people let down their guard and don't take proper containment measures.

Abe said his government will compile an unprecedentedly big economic stimulus that will include cash payouts to households and small firms hit by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Tokyo has confirmed more than 50 new coronavirus infections, a record daily increase, public broadcaster NHK reported on Saturday as the governor of Japan’s capital also urged citizens to stay indoors.

Japan's Infections on Friday rose by a daily record 102, said public broadcaster NHK. Japan's total COVID-19 cases have climbed to 1,585, with 53 deaths, excluding those from a cruise ship quarantined last month. 


Jordanian Health Minister Saad Jaber said in a statement that the country reported 23 new coronavirus cases on Friday while 16 have recovered.

The total number of the COVID-19 cases has risen to 235, the minister said added.


Kuwait reported 10 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 235, the Health Ministry announced in a statement on Saturday.

Among 10 cases, seven cases are Kuwaiti nationals who returned from the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and France and one case is a resident who returned from Canada, it said.

South Korea 

South Korea reported 146 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of midnight Saturday local time, raising the total number of infections to 9,478.

Five more deaths were confirmed, lifting the death toll to 144. The total fatality rate came in at 1.52 percent.

A total of 283 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 4,811.

A closed sign is seen through the door of a Starbuck coffee shop, March 28, 2020, in Tokyo. Most Starbucks franchises in Tokyo have closed over the weekend in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (JAE C HONG / AP)

READ MORE: Abe calls virus a 'national crisis', S'pore to tap reserves for US$30b


The streets in Lebanese cities were almost empty on Friday evening after the government imposed a daily curfew from 7 pm to 5 am in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19. 

The Lebanese cabinet announced this new measure a day earlier as the number of COVID-19 infections has been rising by at least 10 percent every day recently. 

Lebanon has taken tough measures following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country by closing all commercial shops, malls, schools, universities, land and sea borders, in addition to the airport. 

Lebanon's number of COVID-19 infections increased on Friday by 23 cases to 391, while the death toll rose to 7.  


Maldives has reported its first case of a local citizen testing positive for COVID-19, taking the total number of confirmed cases up to 14.

The 38-year old Maldivian citizen who returned from Britain on March 22 and showed symptoms after being placed under quarantine tested positive for the virus on March 25.


Malaysia reported 159 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, taking the total to 2,320, the highest in Southeast Asia.

The number of deaths from the virus outbreak rose by one to 27, the health ministry said.


Mongolia's National Center for Communicable Disease (NCCD) said Saturday that a Mongolian citizen who arrived on a chartered flight from Istanbul last week has tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total confirmed cases to 12 in the country.Several people enjoy their daily swim north of the port of Fremantle near Perth on March 27, 2020. The number of confirmed covid-19 cases in Australia passed the 3,000 mark on March 27, with the vast majority of infections in major east coast cities like Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. (PHOTO / AFP)


Three more cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Myanmar on Saturday, bringing the total infections of the viral pandemic in the country to eight, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Health and Sports.

According to the ministry, the newly confirmed patients were in good condition and being treated at hospitals in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, while contact tracing of those patients was underway by the ministry.

READ MORE: S'pore threatens prison for close encounters in stringent virus measures

New Zealand 

New Zealand reported 78 new confirmed and five probable cases of COVID-19 on Saturday morning, bringing the total number of infections to 451 in the country.

While most of the COVID-19 cases confirmed in New Zealand are related to people who have overseas travel history, five clusters of community transmission in the country have been confirmed.

New Zealand has entered into a national lockdown from 11:59 pm on Wednesday. People are urged to stay at home unless purchasing essential food and supplies.


A Palestinian official announced on Saturday that six new COVID-19 cases were recorded in the West Bank, bringing the total number of cases in the Palestinian territories to 97 cases.


Syria said on Friday it was banning travel between cities and governorates as part of tightening measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, state-run Ikhbariya TV reported, citing the interior minister.

Syria has recorded five cases of coronavirus so far but relief agencies worry that any outbreak could be lethal after years of conflict that has ravaged its healthcare system.

The travel restriction, effective from Sunday, comes on top of a curfew announced this week from 6 pm to 6 am and after the country has halted flights and ordered the closure of most businesses.

An aerial view showing newly dug graves, prepared for those who lost their lives due to coronavirus, on a plot of land adjacent to the Baklaca cemetery, left, in Istanbul's Beykoz area, March 26, 2020. According to Istanbul's municipality they have allocated the space to be used to bury those who die due to COVID-19. (DHA via AP)


Turkey halted all intercity trains and limited domestic flights on Saturday as part of measures to contain a fast-growing coronavirus outbreak. 

President Tayyip Erdogan called on Friday for a “voluntary quarantine” in which Turks stay at home except for shopping or basic needs to stem a surge of coronavirus cases. 

Erdogan also announced an end to all international flights as Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said a total of 12 towns and villages were under quarantine. 

The Interior Ministry also banned the activities of citizens in beaches and recreation areas such as picnicking, fishing, sports and hiking at the weekend.

Turkey’s coronavirus death toll rose by 17 on Friday to 92, while the total number of cases rose by 2,069 to 5,698, the country’s health minister told a press conference.

ALSO READ: Malaysia unveils US$58-billion stimulus to cushion virus blow


Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad discussed the coronavirus pandemic over the phone on Friday, a statement from United Arab Emirates’ news agency reported.

The country on Friday reported 72 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 405, the Ministry of Health and Prevention said in a statement.


Vietnam's Ministry of Health on Saturday morning confirmed six new cases of novel coronavirus infection, one Danish and five Vietnamese, bringing the total cases in the country to 169.

The Vietnamese cases include two people returning from Britain and two workers at a Hanoi-based hospital where several medical workers and patients have earlier been infected.


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