Pedestrians walk along a near-empty street in Shinjuku district in Tokyo, Japan, on April 10, 2020. (PHOTO / BLOOMBERG)
TOKYO / SEOUL / PHNOM PENH — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on people nationwide to refrain from visiting late-night entertainment venues to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Abe mentioned bars, night clubs and live music venues as examples of places to avoid, in comments Saturday at a government panel charged with determining measures to fight the pandemic. There were 197 new coronavirus cases in Tokyo on Saturday, the highest daily tally so far, Kyodo News reported.
The prime minister is now calling on all of Japan to avoid such venues, compared with a plea earlier this week to refrain from visiting them in Tokyo and six other districts subject to an emergency declaration. Abe’s administration declared a month-long emergency Tuesday, fueling concern that a plunge in business activity will cause a sharp economic downturn.
Japan's health ministry and local governments said the number of COVID-19 cases in Japan has surpassed 6,480, with more than 300 new cases as of 5:30 pm local time on Saturday.
The death toll in Japan from the pneumonia-causing virus currently stands at a total of 136 people, including 12 from the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Tokyo recorded a new daily record at 197 new cases, bringing the total number of infections in the capital, the epicenter of the nation's outbreak, to 1,902.
South Korea reported 30 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of midnight Saturday local time, raising the total number of infections to 10,480.
Of the new cases, 12 were imported from overseas.
Three more deaths were confirmed, lifting the death toll to 211. The total fatality rate came in at 2.01 percent.
A total of 126 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 7,243.
Australia has achieved progress in the fight against the COVID-19, with the growth rate of infection cases falling below 1.5 percent.
According to the Department of Health there have been 6,238 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia as of Saturday morning - an increase of 1.39 percent from 6,152 on Friday morning.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has zero new cases between Friday and Saturday.
Despite the rate of infections flattening across the country, ACT Chief Health Officer Vanessa Johnston reiterated that people must stay home and continue to abide by social distancing rules.
Of the 6,238 confirmed cases in Australia, 54 have died from COVID-19, as of Saturday morning. More than 338,000 tests have been conducted across Australia.
The government has legislated COVID-19 economic stimulus measures including the 130-billion-Australian dollar (US$81.1billion) jobkeeper package and Anthony Albanese, the leader of the Opposition Labor Party, on Saturday called for greater commitment to manufacturing and infrastructure to aid the economic recovery.
Cambodia's Ministry of Health announced in a statement on Saturday that one more person tested positive for the COVID-19, bringing the total number of the confirmed cases in the kingdom to 120.
Cambodia has seen three more COVID-19 patients discharged from hospital after recovery by the end of Friday, raising the tally of patients cured in the kingdom to 75.
New Zealand reported two additional deaths caused by COVID-19, as the country recorded 29 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.
New Zealand reported 20 new confirmed and nine new probably cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases to 1,312 in the country.
Fifteen people are currently in hospital, including five people in ICU and 422 people have recovered from the disease.
Turkey's total confirmed cases of COVID-19 climbed to 47,029, with 4,747 new patients reported in the last 24 hours, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Friday.
The death toll from the novel coronavirus in Turkey reached 1,006 after 98 more lost their lives over the past 24 hours, Koca said at a press conference.
Turkey has declared a two-day curfew for the weekend in 31 cities aiming to contain the increase in novel coronavirus cases, according to the Interior Ministry.
A total of 2,423 patients have recovered, and 1,667 patients are still being treated at intensive care units, and 1,062 are intubated, the minister said.
Israel reported 440 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number to 10,408, the Ministry of Health said.
It also announced nine new deaths, bringing the death toll to 95.
Of the 687 patients being treated in hospitals across Israel, 167 are in serious condition and 173 are in moderate condition.
Of the other 9,626 patients, 6,631 are treated in home quarantine, 1,002 in hotels converted into treatment facilities, 1,183 have recovered and the remaining 810 will be treated at home, hotel or hospital according to decisions to be made soon.
The United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates on Friday announced 370 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 3,360.
Meanwhile, 150 more patients have made full recovery from the virus, taking the tally of the recoveries to 418, according to the ministry.
The ministry also confirmed two more death, pushing the country's death toll to 16.
A total of 136 new infections of the novel coronavirus were announced in Qatar, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases to 2,512, according to a health ministry statement on Friday.
"Twenty-one people recovered and this brings the total number of recoveries to 227," the official Qatar News Agency said, quoting the ministry statement.
Palestine on Friday evening confirmed a new COVID-19 case, raising the total number in its territories to 267.
Of the 267 cases including 13 in the Gaza Strip, 44 have recovered including nine in Gaza, and two died including a new death on Friday.
The Iraqi health ministry on Friday confirmed one more death from the COVID-19 and 47 new cases, bringing the total number in the country to 1,279.
Out of the 47 cases confirmed during the past 24 hours, 11 are in the capital Baghdad, 10 in Wasit, nine in Erbil, five in Basra, four in Sulaimaniyah, three in each of Karbala and Najaf, and one in Salahudin and Muthanna each, the ministry said in a statement.
So far 70 have died from the coronavirus in Iraq and 550 recovered, according to the statement.
The Omani health ministry announced on Friday 27 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number in the country to 484.
All the 27 cases are community contacts, according to a ministry statement.
The death toll from the virus remains at three, the ministry said.
Singapore reported on Friday 198 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 2,108.
All of the 198 cases are locally transmitted cases. Of the total, 79 cases were linked to clusters at foreign worker dormitories and 48 were linked to non-dormitory clusters or other cases. The rest 71 cases are currently unlinked.
To date, a total of 492 cases have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities.
Of the 875 cases who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving, while 32 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
Most of Thailand’s provinces have banned sales of alcoholic beverages, heeding a central government call to discourage festive celebrations for the Thai New Year as the country seeks to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Thailand is among Southeast Asian countries that are cancelling or scaling back traditionally boisterous Buddhist New Year celebrations amid the global pandemic.
The Thai New Year or water splashing Songkran celebrations are usually held April 13-15, but this year the government has postponed the holidays that would normally be taken then.
Thailand reported on Saturday 45 new coronavirus infections and two more deaths.
The dead were Thai men, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman of the government’s Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration.
The Southeast Asian nation has registered a total of 2,518 cases and 35 deaths since its outbreak emerged in January.
Vietnam's Ministry of Health on Friday confirmed two new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total in the country to 257.
Both of the new cases are Vietnamese, one of whom recently returned from Russia and the other is reportedly related to an earlier confirmed case, according to the ministry.
As of Friday evening, Vietnam saw 144 COVID-19 cases cured, with no deaths reported, while there were 2,544 suspected cases with nearly 75,000 being monitored and quarantined in the country, according to the ministry.
The Myanmar Investment Commission is planning to accept investment projects in manufacturing masks, pharmaceuticals and others which can contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 in the country, state-run media reported Saturday.
At present, of the investment proposals, the industry and labour based businesses are prioritized by the commission over other sectors, Director General Thant Sin Lwin of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) was quoted as saying.
Submission of the investment proposals to the commission is not affected, with no decrease in number amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, he added.
Meanwhile, Myanmar has attracted over US$2.73 billion of investment capital from 147 foreign enterprises in first half of present fiscal year 2019-2020.
Of them, the MIC has approved 118 foreign enterprises with investment capital of over US$475.3 million in manufacturing sector during the period.
As of late Friday, Myanmar has reported a total of 28 cases of infectious COVID-19, with three deaths.
Kyrgyzstan reported 41 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 339.
Deputy Minister of Health Mademin Karataev told a news briefing on Saturday that 12 of the new cases are medical workers.
So far, the total number of medical workers infected with COVID-19 is 51.
Karataev also said that 6,251 people had contact with confirmed cases, with 1,100 people under medical observation and the rest in home quarantine.
The deputy minister added that five people recovered and were discharged from hospital in the past day, taking the total recoveries to 44 in the past five days.
The Philippines reported 26 new coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday, taking the total to 247.
It also confirmed 233 new infections for a tally of 4,428. Seventeen more patients have recovered, the health ministry said in a bulletin, bringing the number of recoveries to 157.
Malaysian health authorities reported 184 additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus on Saturday, raising the cumulative tally to 4,530, the highest number for any country in Southeast Asia.
The latest data includes 3 new deaths, raising total fatalities from the outbreak to 73.
The ministry said 44 percent of all confirmed cases have recovered.
Indonesia confirmed 330 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, taking its tally to 3,842, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.
It also confirmed 21 virus-related deaths, taking the total to 327, Yurianto told a televised news conference.
India's federal health ministry Saturday morning said the death toll due to COVID-19 in India rose to 239 and the total number of confirmed cases in the country reached 7,471.
"As on 8:00 am (local time) today 239 deaths related to novel coronavirus have been recorded in the country," reads the information released by the ministry.
This is a jump of 33 deaths and an increase of 686 cases since Friday evening.
On Friday evening the number of COVID-19 cases in the country was 6,761 and the death toll was 206.
According to ministry officials, so far 643 people have been discharged from hospitals after showing improvement.
In South Asia’s latest moves to curb the coronavirus pandemic, Bangladesh has extended its nationwide lockdown by 11 days while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold talks on Saturday with states to decide whether to extend its own stringent restrictions beyond next week.
In Bangladesh, where the army has been deployed across the country to enforce social distancing measures, the government late on Friday extended the nationwide lockdown to April 25 as the number of confirmed cases rose to 424, with 27 deaths.
HONG KONG NEWS