People wearing face masks walk across the Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo on May 31, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)
SYDNEY / JERUSALEM / RIYADH / ADEN / TOKYO / MUSCAT / COLOMBO — The Tokyo government on Tuesday warned citizens to stay at home unless they had urgent business and to practise social distancing after recording 34 new coronavirus infections, the highest since early May. Out of the newly confirmed cases, infection routes of 12 were unknown, the Tokyo government said.
Tokyo has been the epicenter of the outbreak with the largest number of infections in Japan since late March, and reported its first three-digit increase of 116 on April 4. Though the number has been gradually declining since mid-April, a slight rise has been shown this week.
Separately, Japan’s government said on Tuesday it has approved saliva-based tests for the new coronavirus, offering a safer, simpler way to diagnose infection as well as boosting the number of tests being carried out using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology.
An elderly Rohingya refugee has become the first person to die from coronavirus in the camps in southern Bangladesh, officials said on Tuesday.
The man, aged 71, died on May 31 while undergoing treatment at the camp’s isolation center, said Bimal Chakma, a senior official of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission.
“Today we got the confirmation that he tested positive for COVID-19,” he said.
At least 29 Rohingya have tested positive for the virus so far since the first case was detected in the camps on May 14. Officials said 332 tests have been conducted among Rohingya in the camps so far.
Bangladesh confirmed 2,911 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest daily rise since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country on March 8, bringing the total to over 52,000.
Professor Nasima Sultana, a senior health ministry official, told an online media briefing in Dhaka that "the total number of positive cases is now 52,445 and the death toll stands currently at 709."
Indonesia has cancelled the haj pilgrimage this year for people in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation due to concerns over the coronavirus, the religious affairs minister said on Tuesday.
Each year hundreds of thousands of Indonesians go on the haj to Saudi Arabia, where Islam’s two holiest sites — Mecca and Medina — are located. For many Indonesians, the religious pilgrimage is a once-in-a lifetime event, with the average wait time 20 years due to a quota system, according to the country’s cabinet secretariat.
Saudi authorities have already said the haj and umrah pilgrimages — which attract millions of travellers from around the world — will remain suspended until further notice.
Fachrul Razi, Indonesia’s religious affairs minister, said the decision to cancel hajj this year was made due to concerns over the coronavirus and ongoing travel restrictions.
The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 609 within one day to 27,549, and the death toll increased by 22 to 1,663, Achmad Yurianto, a Health Ministry official, said at a press conference here on Tuesday.
According to him, 298 more people had been discharged from hospitals, making the total number of recovered patients to 7,935.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the country would get its growth back amid difficult circumstances as he called upon captains of the country's industry to invest and strengthen the supply chain which had been adversely affected by the countrywide lockdown.
The government said on Tuesday it has approved Gilead Sciences Inc's antiviral drug remdesivir for emergency use for five doses in treating COVID-19 patients.
India's federal health ministry on Tuesday morning reported 204 new deaths and 8,171 positive cases during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 5,598 and total cases to 198,706.
The 5th phase of a nationwide lockdown came into force from Monday, marking several relaxations and reopening in a phased manner.
Pre-school children gather around a table inside their classroom as schools reopened in Singapore on June 2, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)
With temperatures checked, masks fitted, and hand sanitizers at the ready, many Singapore children returned to school on Tuesday after a novel coronavirus lockdown of nearly two months.
Across the island, the hum of the morning rush hour resumed while staff at schools urged students to maintain a safe distance as they lined up to return to class.
Singapore has said it will ease restrictions gradually, with the registry of marriages and some businesses, including pet salons, also reopening on Tuesday.
Singapore's Ministry of Health reported 408 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 35,292.
Of the new cases, there are no cases in the community and all are linked to known clusters.
The Singapore government is racing to create additional housing for about 60,000 migrant workers by the end of this year, as it seeks to reduce the density in dormitories which have seen mass outbreaks of the coronavirus infection.
The nation of 5.7 million people has more than 35,000 cases, one of the largest numbers in Asia, largely due to infections in cramped, bunk-bed accommodation that house more than 300,000 mostly South Asian workers.
Singapore will create additional space through temporary structures that can be put together quickly in a modular form.
Rohingya refugees walk past a red flag used to mark the house of a COVID-19 patient in a refugee camp in Ukhia on May 15, 2020. (SUZAUDDIN RUBEL / AFP)
A man thought to be the youngest person to have died from coronavirus in Australia did not have the virus at the time of his death, officials said.
Mobile testing found no local COVID-19 cases, and late on Monday authorities said subsequent testing showed the man named as Nathan Turner did not die from COVID-19.
The revision means Australia has had 102 COVID-19 deaths from almost 7,200 infections, well below other countries.
With new infections now largely under control, many walks of Australian life are returning to normal, bringing a rise in the number of people commuting to major cites for work while the National Museum of Australia and the National Gallery of Australia reopened on Tuesday, more than two months after they closed amid concern of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Australia’s most populous state will open up some sports facilities from the middle of June, officials said on Tuesday, after nearly a week with no new cases of coronavirus via community transmission.
New South Wales, home to one-third of the country’s population and the bulk of its infections, said gyms, indoor swimming pools and saunas will be allowed to reopen from June 13. Children’s community sport will be permitted from July 1.
Turkish health minister on Monday confirmed 827 new COVID-19 cases for the past 24 hours, and 23 more fatalities.
Turkey's total confirmed cases stood at 164,769 and the death toll hit 4,563, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said at Twitter.
Some 974 patients have recovered in the last 24 hours, he added, raising the overall number of recoveries to 128,947, Koca stated.
He said that 31,525 tests were conducted over the past day, and the total number of tests increased to 2,070,719.
Thailand's Ministry of Defence on Tuesday said it aims to bring back more Thais stranded in other countries, from 400 a day to 500 from June 5.
Spokesman Lt-General Kongcheep Tantawanich said that the Thai government could only allow a maximum of 400 Thai returnees each day into Thailand in May to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Myanmar's Foreign Affairs Ministry Monday announced extension of temporary entry restrictions for travelers from all countries until June 15, as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 outbreak.
The extension will be effective to the ministry's announcements of precautionary measures for the travelers which were set to be in force until May 31.
Israel's Ministry of Health reported 98 new coronavirus patients on Monday, bringing the total to 17,169.
According to the ministry, the number of death cases remained 285, while the number of patients in serious condition has dropped from 33 to 32, out of 105 patients currently hospitalized.
The number of patients currently hospitalized is the lowest since March 12, while the number of patients in serious condition is the lowest since March 23.
The number of recoveries rose to 14,878, with 86 new recoveries, while the number of active cases rose to 2,006.
Meanwhile, Israel's Channel 12 TV news reported Monday evening that a maintenance worker at the Prime Minister's Office was tested positive for coronavirus.
As a result, an epidemiological investigation has been started, after which it will be decided whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will undergo home quarantine, for the third time since the pandemic outbreak.
According to the report, Israeli Minister of Education Yoav Galant may also enter quarantine after meeting with Netanyahu on Saturday evening.
Saudi Arabia registered on Monday 1,881 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total confirmed cases to 87,142, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The kingdom reported 1,864 new recoveries, increasing the recovered cases to 64,306.
The death toll from the virus reached 525, with new 22 fatalities.
Malaysia reported 20 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the national total to 7,877, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said at a press briefing that of the new cases, 15 are imported cases while the five local transmissions were made up of 3 foreign nationals and two locals.
A man washes hands by a container with hand sanitizer, part of precautionary measures against the spread of the COVID-19, placed for public use at the Baiturrahman grand mosque in Banda Aceh in Indonesia on May 29, 2020. (PHOTO /AFP)
The number of infections with COVID-19 in the Yemeni provinces controlled by the government has increased to 354 as health authorities confirmed 31 new cases on Monday, according to a brief statement released by the country's health ministry.
The war-torn Arab country recorded also four more deaths from the disease, bringing the death toll to 84 in the Yemeni areas under the control of the government.
The pro-government health authorities said the number of recoveries remained at 14 since the outbreak of coronavirus on April 10.
The Yemeni government has taken several measures to contain the outbreak of COVID-19, including imposing a partial overnight curfew in Aden and other major cities under its control.
The government called on donors and relevant international humanitarian organizations to provide support to help contain the pandemic.
The Omani Ministry of Health announced on Monday 786 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 12,223.
According to a statement issued by the ministry, all new cases, including 298 Omanis, are related to community contact.
The statement also said that the tally of recovered cases reached 2,682. One new death was reported, bringing the death toll to 50.
The ministry called on people to observe the procedures for quarantine, avoid public places or places of worship, and ensure public hygiene.
The United Arab Emirates
Dubai will allow the full reopening of malls and private businesses starting on Wednesday, its media office said, after the gleaming United Arab Emirates business hub began easing restrictions last month.
Some retail and wholesale businesses reopened in May, subject to sterilisation operations and social distancing, along with cinemas, gyms, ice rinks and its indoor ski slope. Dubai's economy, which heavily relies on retail, tourism and hospitality, has suffered from the lockdown and travel restrictions as the coronavirus outbreak spread.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday announced 596 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 35,788. The Ministry also confirmed three more death, pushing the country's death toll to 269.
The Kuwaiti government announced on Monday that businesses including banks can start their activities as part of the country's phased plan to reopen economy.
The government has also assigned the Central Agency for Information Technology to establish a platform where citizens and residents can make an appointment before going to any governmental institutions in order to facilitate social distancing and curb the spread of coronavirus, said Tareq Al-Mezrem, the government spokesman, at a press conference.
Kuwait on Tuesday reported 887 new cases of COVID-19 and six more deaths, raising the tally of infections to 28,649 and the death toll to 226, the health ministry said in a statement.
Sri Lanka's Tourism Ministry has decided to introduce a COVID-19 safety standard compliance certification for star class hotels across the country, as a move to re-assure tourists considering Sri Lanka for their next holiday post-pandemic, local media reported here Tuesday.
Sri Lanka reported its 11th COVID-19 related death and six new confirmed cases on Monday, bringing the country's total case count to 1,639, according to data from the Health Promotion Bureau.
Local media reported that the latest COVID-19 related death was that of a 45-year old male who recently returned to Sri Lanka from Kuwait and was being treated at the ICU of the Homagama Hospital in Colombo District.
Prasanna Ranatunga, Minister of Industrial Export, Investment Promotion, Tourism and Aviation, told local media on Monday that all arrivals at the country's main Bandaranaike International Airport will be subjected to PCR tests henceforth.
The Iraqi health ministry on Monday reported 429 new COVID-19 cases, the biggest single-day increase so far, taking the number of infections in the country to 6,868.
The statement also reported 10 more deaths, seven of them in Baghdad's hospitals and one in Anbar, Maysan and Sulaimaniyah each, bringing the death toll in the country to 215.
Iraq has so far carried out 238,251 tests for COVID-19 since the outbreak of the disease, after 10,495 testing kits were used during the past 24 hours, according to the statement.
New Zealand could remove most of its remaining restrictions on people and businesses as soon as next week after successfully wiping out the coronavirus.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that cabinet would bring forward its decision on a further relaxation of measures to June 8 and the move could take effect on June 10. The nation’s Alert Level would be reduced to 1, which denotes “very few restrictions,” Ardern told Radio New Zealand. The country has just one active case remaining and no new infections for the past 10 days
Iran reported 3,117 new cases over the past 24 hours, taking the total confirmed novel coronavirus cases to 157,562 on Tuesday, according to official IRNA news agency.
Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of the health ministry, said during his daily update on Tuesday that 64 people died overnight, taking the total fatalities over the virus to 7,942.
Republic of Korea (ROK) reported 38 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of 0:00 am Tuesday local time, raising the total number of infections to 11,541.
The daily caseload stayed above 30 for two straight days due to small cluster infections from religious gatherings in the metropolitan area.
Of the new cases, two were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 1,266.
One more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 272. The total fatality rate stood at 2.36 percent.
A total of 24 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 10,446. The total recovery rate was 90.5 percent.
Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will open schools this month after delays over concern about the novel coronavirus, state media has reported, the latest sign of opening up even though the isolated country has said it has had no confirmed cases of the disease.
DPRK’s schools usually begin their spring term on April 1, but it was postponed as the government took various steps to ward off the virus, including sealing its borders.
State media has said high schools and universities started classes on April 20.
All other schools, kindergartens, day-care centres and nursing homes will reopen early this month, state radio reported late on Monday.
Major airline companies in the Philippines have announced its plan to resume limited domestic flights starting from Wednesday following the government's move to ease quarantine restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised press conference on Tuesday that international commercial flights remain suspended, except for a few sweeper flights to repatriate distressed overseas Filipino workers and stranded foreign nationals.
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air and AirAsia issued advisories on Monday about their plan to resume domestic flight services after over two months suspension.
The number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines climbed to 18,997 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 359 more infections on Tuesday.
The DOH said in a daily bulletin that the number of recoveries further climbed to 4,063 after 84 more patients have recovered, and the death toll also increased to 966 after 6 more deaths were reported.
Most Lao students returned to schools on Tuesday as the Lao government further eased its precautionary COVID-19 restrictions.
Preschools, kindergartens and the remaining classes of primary and secondary schools (whose final-year classes resumed earlier on May 18) have reopened on Tuesday.
Final-year classes at technical colleges, pedagogy colleges and universities have also reopened on the same day, while other remaining classes are instructed to reopen on June 15.
Restrictions have been further relaxed given that there have been no new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Laos for 50 consecutive days as of Monday. Sixteen of the 19 patients who contracted the virus have been discharged from hospitals.
Nepal's Department of Health Services said it does not have a single ventilator in store for the hospitals if critical COVID-19 cases surge amid rapidly increasing cases recently.
Ventilator is the life saving equipment vital for the survival of critically ill patients, which the Himalayan country lacks in various hospitals.
According to the Nepal's Ministry of Health and Population, the nation currently has only 840 ventilators across the country.
With a record-high 239 new cases on Monday, the total count of COVID-19 in Nepal has reached 1,811. After a slow start, almost all cases had appeared in the last one month, according to the ministry.
Kyrgyzstan said Tuesday that COVID-19 infections in the country totaled 1,845 with 28 new cases reported over the past 24 hours.
Among the new confirmed cases, 16 were imported ones, the country's Deputy Health Minister Nurbolot Usenbaev said at a daily briefing.
He also reported one new virus-related death, raising the nationwide death toll to 17.
There are currently 609 patients infected with the disease in hospitals throughout the country with four in the intensive care unit, he said.
A total of 2,404 people in the country who had contact with infected patients are under medical observation, and another 7,664 people are in home quarantine under the supervision of doctors.
Afghanistan's Public Health Ministry registered 759 COVID-19 positive cases over the past 24 hours, totaling the number of patients to 16,509 in the country, a spokesman for the ministry Tawhid Shakohmand said Tuesday.
According to the official, 266 positive cases have been confirmed in the capital city Kabul, 212 cases in Herat and the remaining 281 cases have been confirmed in other parts of the militancy-battered Afghanistan.
HONG KONG NEWS