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Monday, April 20, 2020, 21:20
New Zealand to ease lockdown restrictions next week
By Agencies
Monday, April 20, 2020, 21:20 By Agencies

A sign outside a school informing people about its closure in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is pictured in Wellington on April 20, 2020. (MARTY MELVILLE / AFP)

SYDNEY / ISTANBUL / SEOUL- New Zealand will extend the lockdown measures in place to beat the coronavirus by a week, after which it will move to a lower level of restrictions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.

“New Zealand will move out of Alert Level 4 lockdown at 11:59 pm on Monday April 27, one week from today,” Ardern said in a news conference.

“We will then hold in Alert Level 3 for two weeks, before reviewing how we are tracking again, and making further decisions at Cabinet on the 11th of May,” she said.

Just nine new cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Monday and no new deaths, taking the total to 1,440 cases with 12 fatalities.


Turkey’s confirmed coronavirus cases have risen to 86,306, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Sunday, the highest total for any country outside Europe or the United States.

An increase of 3,977 cases in the last 24 hours lifted Turkey’s confirmed tally above that of China.

Koca said 127 more people have died, taking the death toll to 2,017. 

Turkey only reported its first coronavirus patient on March 10, but has seen the number of confirmed cases rise sharply since then. It now has the seventh-highest total in the world. So far it has tested more than 634,000 people.


Singapore’s health ministry confirmed on Monday an additional 1,426 cases of COVID-19 infection, a record daily jump that took the city-state’s tally to 8,014.

The ministry said the vast majority of the new cases were among migrant workers living in dormitories.


Thirty more confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported in Afghanistan in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number in the country to 1,026 as of Monday morning, spokesman of Ministry of Public Health said Monday.

Three COVID patients have died in Kabul, Kandahar and Balkh provinces during the past 24 hours, according to Mayar.

The latest deaths brought the death toll to 36 while the number of patients who were discharged from hospitals rose to 135 after four more patients recovered during the period.

Responding to questions about reports indicating more than 40 member staff of Afghan Presidential Palace tested positive for COVID-19, the spokesman did not give a direct response.


More than 150 Australian economists on Monday warned the government against easing social distancing rules aimed at halting the spread of the new coronavirus even as the rate of infections slowed to a multi-week low.

While the measures have slowed the growth in new infections to fewer than 40 new cases a day, the restrictions are expected to push unemployment to a 16-year high of about 10%.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week said there would no easing of Australia’s restrictions for at least four weeks, and several state premiers on Monday urged the public to keep to the social distancing rules.


Bangladesh has tightened a clampdown on seven villages after tens of thousands attended the funeral of a popular local cleric in spite of a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus, officials said on Monday.

Bangladesh has 2,456 confirmed coronavirus cases and 91 deaths. The government-imposed lockdown is in place until at least April 25 but many are starting to flout the rules including garment workers who took to the streets over the weekend demanding back pay.


Fiji reported its 18th confirmed case of COVID-19 after a 51-year-old woman tested positive for the virus on Monday.


India won’t allow commercial flights to operate until it is confident that the coronavirus outbreak is under control, the aviation minister said, piling further pressure on the country’s cash-strapped airlines.

The ban will be lifted only when the government determines that the virus is no longer a threat, Hardeep Singh Puri wrote in a Twitter post.

India's federal health ministry Monday morning said the death toll due to COVID-19 in India rose to 543 and the total number of confirmed cases in the country reached 17,265.

This is a jump of 24 deaths and an increase of 1,149 cases since Sunday evening.

People wearing facemasks for protective measures walk among the stalls of the symp market in Bayrampasa in Istanbul on April 17, 2020 as the country adopts measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19. (OZAN KOSE / AFP)


Indonesian President Joko Widodo called for an urgent expansion of testing and aggressive containment measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

Indonesia reported on Monday 185 new coronavirus cases, taking the total number of infections in the Southeast Asian country to 6,760, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.

Yurianto said there had been eight new deaths attributed to the disease, taking the total number to 590, while 747 people had recovered. More than 49,700 tests had been performed, he said.


The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Iran reached 5,209 on Monday with 91 deaths in the past twenty four hours, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said in a statement on state TV on Monday.

The total number of diagnosed cases of the new coronavirus in Iran, the Middle Eastern country hardest hit by the outbreak, has reached 83،505, he said.


The Iraqi Health Ministry on Sunday confirmed 26 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections to 1,539 in the country.

So far, 82 have died from the disease while 1,009 recovered, said the statement, adding that no deaths were registered during the day.

READ MORE: S'pore sees biggest daily jump in infection, Japan expands testing


Israel's Ministry of Health announced 163 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total number to 13,654 in the country.

The ministry has also reported a new death case since Sunday evening, as the death toll in Israel currently stands at 173. 


COVID-19 cases in Japan increased to 10,810, according to the latest figures Monday, as a nationwide effort swings into gear to try and curb the spread of the virus.

The nationwide death toll from the virus has now increased to a total of 251, including those from a cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama near Tokyo, the latest figures showed.

Japan’s economic stimulus package will be revised to 117.1 trillion yen (US$1.086 trillion) from 108.2 trillion yen, boosted by the expansion of a cash payout scheme aimed at lessening the pain from the coronavirus outbreak, a draft obtained by Reuters showed.

Fiscal spending will account for 48.4 trillion yen, of which around 25.6 trillion yen will be funded by an extra budget for the fiscal year that began on April 1, it showed.

The extra spending plan is expected to be approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet as early as Monday.


A total of four new COVID-19 cases were reported in Jordan on Sunday, increasing the overall number of coronavirus cases to 417, according to Minister of Health Saad Jaber.

The minister said that Jordan is currently producing face masks at about 150,000 per day and in ten days the number will reach around one million per day.  

Also on Sunday, Jordan's Minister of Finance Mohammad Al Ississ said Jordan's economy will be affected by the novel coronavirus, but the country will be one of the first countries to recover due to strict and tough measures that Jordan implemented since the beginning of the virus outbreak.

ALSO READ: Singapore now has most coronavirus cases in SE Asia


Mongolia's National Center for Communicable Disease (NCCD) confirmed on Monday one more COVID-19 case, bringing the total infections in the country to 33.

The latest case is one out of over 280 Mongolian nationals who have recently been evacuated from Russia on buses via Altanbulag border point amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said Nyamkhuu.

People wearing facemasks for protective measures walk among the stalls of the symp market in Bayrampasa in Residents queue for their food at Tuas South foreign workers dormitory that has been placed under government restriction as preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Singapore on April 19, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)


Malaysian health authorities on Monday reported 36 new coronavirus cases, the lowest daily rise since the government imposed curbs on movement and business to contain the spread of the pandemic a month ago.

The new cases bring the cumulative total to 5,425 cases. The health ministry reported no new deaths on Monday, keeping total fatalities at 89.


The number of COVID-19 infections has surged to 111 in total, with four more confirmed cases reported late Sunday, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health and Sports.

Of the newly confirmed cases, all patients were reported from Yangon region with no travel history in the past 14 days, but two of them were in close contact with previously confirmed patients.

Myanmar has reported five deaths of COVID-19 disease as of Saturday since the infectious disease was first detected in the country on March 23.


The Omani Ministry of Health announced Sunday 86 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 1,266.   

According to a statement issued by the ministry, out of the 86 new cases, 15 are Omanis, and all the new cases are related to community contact.   


Pakistan has started repatriating some of its citizens from the United Arab Emirates, which had threatened to review labour ties with countries refusing to take back their nationals during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The first Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight carrying 227 “stranded passengers” from Dubai and other emirates left for Islamabad on Saturday evening, Pakistan’s consulate general in Dubai said in a Twitter post.

More than 40,000 Pakistanis in the Gulf Arab state have registered with the consulate to return home, two UAE newspapers reported.

READ MORE: Virus: Singapore mulls placing recovered workers on cruise ships


Palestine on Sunday said that the total number or coronavirus cases have increased to 437, including 115 in East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian government spokesperson Ibrahim Milhem told reporters that two new cases were confirmed on Sunday evening in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, bringing the total number in the West Bank up to 322.

Milhem underlined that Israel is preventing Palestinian authorities from monitoring the situation of the Palestinians living in East Jerusalem.

Saudi Arabia

The total cases of the novel coronavirus in Saudi Arabia increased to 9,362 on Sunday with the registration of 1,088 new infections.

Around 82 percent of the new cases are not Saudi citizens, the Saudi Press Agency quoted Health Ministry Spokesperson Mohammed Al-Abdulaali as saying.

He said 93 patients are now in critical condition and 1,398 others have recovered.

South Korea 

South Koreans are returning to work and crowding shopping malls, parks, golf courses and some restaurants as South Korea relaxes social distancing rules amid a continued downward trend in coronavirus cases.

South Korea reported 13 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of midnight Monday local time, raising the total number of infections to 10,674.

Two more deaths were confirmed, lifting the death toll to 236. The total fatality rate came in at 2.21 percent.

Police personnel sit on a vehicle as they patrol on a road amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Yangon on April 18, 2020. (YE AUNG THU / AFP)


One new COVID-19 infection case and one death were reported in Syria on Sunday, the health ministry said in a statement.

With the new case and death, a total of 39 infections have so far been recorded in Syria, with five recoveries and three deaths, according to the ministry.


Thailand may ease its partial national lockdown starting from early May in provinces that are free of novel coronavirus infections.

Only provinces clear of the pathogen for two weeks would be eligible, Kamnuan Ungchusak, an adviser to the nation’s health minister, told reporters Monday. The proposal will undergo further evaluation, he said.

Thailand on Monday reported the fewest new coronavirus cases in more than a month. Officials detected 27 infections, taking the total to 2,792. There were no new deaths for the third straight day, leaving fatalities at 47.

The Philippines

The Philippines health ministry on Monday reported 19 new coronavirus deaths and 200 additional infections.

In a bulletin, the health ministry said total infections have risen to 6,459 while deaths have increased to 428. But 41 more patients recovered, bringing total recoveries to 613.


Religious authorities in the United Arab Emirates said medical workers treating COVID-19 patients are exempt from fasting during Ramadan and urged Muslims not to congregate for prayers during the holy month expected to start this week.

“Congregating to perform the prayer could endanger lives, an act that is strictly forbidden in Islam,” sid the Emirates Fatwa Council said in a statement. 

The UAE, the region’s business hub, has recorded 6,781 infections with 41 deaths, the second highest count after Saudi Arabia in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council where the number of cases has steadily risen to surpass 26,600 with more than 160 deaths as countries ramp up testing.


More than 13,400 people linked to a COVID-19 outbreak in a village on the outskirts of the Vietnamese capital Hanoi have tested negative for the coronavirus, the government said on Monday.

Supported by the mass quarantine of tens of thousands and an effective contact-tracing programme, Vietnam has recorded just 268 cases of the novel coronavirus so far, and no deaths. The country has stayed clear of the virus for four consecutive days so far.


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