Published: 09:49, March 5, 2020 | Updated: 06:58, June 6, 2023
Virus: S. Korea tally tops 6000, Iraq cancels Friday prayer
By Reuters

People wait in line to buy face masks outside a supermarket in Seoul on March 4, 2020. (JUNG YEON-JE / AFP)

SEOUL / TOKYO / JERUSALEM / SINGAPORE - South Korea reported 322 more cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, taking the total tally to 6,088 after 438 new cases were reported earlier in the day.

The Korea Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention also said three more deaths from the virus were reported, bringing the total to 35.

The South Korean government declared a "special care zone" around Gyeongsan, a city of about 275,000 people 250 kms southeast of Seoul, promising extra resources such as face masks and warning people from travelling there. 

Incheon airport, a major hub in northeast Asia near Seoul, plans to check temperatures on all departing passengers, according to South Korea’s transport ministry.

South Korea will ban all exports of masks starting March 6 at midnight, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said at a speech at the National Assembly.

The US command in South Korea also reported two new cases, for a total of six cases in soldiers, employees or people related to the roughly 28,500 troops stationed in the country.

Iraq cancels Friday prayer in Shi'ite holy city of Kerbala

Iraq cancelled Friday prayers in the Shi'ite holy city of Kerbala due to conerns about the coronavirus, a statement from the holy site administration said on Thursday.

Iraq reported late on Wednesday its second coronavirus death in the capital Baghdad, the health ministry said in a statement published by the state news agency.

The health ministry added the patient had many chronic diseases.

Virus spreads to new part of Japan 

Japan's western prefecture of Shiga reported its first coronavirus infection. A man in his 60s tested positive for the virus, marking the first confirmed infection from Shiga prefecture, an official said at a media briefing on Thursday. 

Japan's confirmed coronavirus infections rose above 1,000 on Wednesday with 36 newly reported cases. Twelve people have died from the disease, according to the health ministry. 

Japan on Thursday announced a dramatic tightening of border controls to combat the virus, including two weeks of quarantine for those arriving from China and South Korea.

Meanwhile, foreign visitors from parts of South Korea and Iran will be banned. These expanded bans on entry will apply from March 7, while quarantine measures will take effect from March 9, initially until the end of the month.

Indonesia tightens entry bans

Indonesia will ban entry and transit of foreign visitors who have visited cities hit by coronavirus outbreaks in Iran, Italy and South Korea in the last 14 days, starting March 8, the country's foreign minister said on Thursday. 

Travellers coming from other places in the three countries will need to provide a certificate issued by health authorities to declare that they are healthy, Minister Retno Marsudi said. 

Indonesians coming home from the three countries, especially those who had travelled to outbreak-hit areas, will also face an extra health examination, Marsudi told reporters.

READ MORE: Japan eyes special legislation as COVID-19 cases top 1,000

A woman looks at facemasks, amid concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, at a shophouse in Bangkok on March 5, 2020. (LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

Thailand reports 4 imported infections

Thailand reports four imported coronavirus cases in patients linked to Italy or Iran, bringing its total to 47 since January, Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoen, director-general of the Department of Disease Control said in a news conference on Thursday. 

The Royal's Cup 2020, scheduled for March 12-15 in Thailand, has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Asian Tour said on Thursday.

Australia extends travel bans to S. Korea

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces the government will continue travel bans for China and Iran, and will extend the ban to South Korea, in press conference in Canberra Thursday.

Aussie racing dogs face quarantine

Racing greyhounds entering the Australian State of Victoria will require a 14-day quarantine in order to stop an outbreak of canine coronavirus, officials said on Wednesday.

The type of coronavirus present in the dogs is not related to the current outbreak of COVID-19 and cannot be spread to humans, according to Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV).

Israel adds five countries to coronavirus air travel restrictions

Israel on Wednesday ordered travelers arriving from Germany, France, Spain, Austria and Switzerland to go into home quarantine over coronavirus concerns and canceled a military exercise with troops from the US Command.

ALSO READ: S. Korea 'at war' with virus, India testing six in Agra

The measure effectively cut off foreign tourism from those countries, whose citizens, the Health Ministry said, would not be allowed into Israel unless they could show they had made quarantine arrangements ahead of time.

Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity ordered closed 

Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity was ordered closed on Thursday due to concern over the coronavirus, the Palestinian Tourism Ministry said.

The ministry did not say how long the closure of the church would last.

A woman, wearing a protective facemask amid fears about the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, walks past the Rain Vortex display at Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore on February 27, 2020. (ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP)

Singapore sends Turkish flight home empty 

A Turkish Airlines aircraft was flown back to Istanbul without any passengers on board on Thursday on orders from authorities in Singapore after a passenger who had arrived on the same plane on Tuesday tested positive for coronavirus. 

The infected passenger was not Turkish and transited through Istanbul en route to Singapore from another location, a Turkish aviation official told Reuters, adding there were 143 passengers aboard the flight, as well as three pilots and 10 crew members.

New Zealand sees 3rd COVID-19 case

New Zealand confirmed the third case of COVID-19 on Thursday after an Auckland man in his 40s, whose family member was back from Iran recently, tested positive for the coronavirus.

The man is quarantined at home and his partner becomes ill, in self-isolation and is being tested, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said.

An Iranian woman wears a protective mask in the capital Tehran on March 4, 2020. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)

Iran suspends official trips abroad 

First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said Wednesday that the Iranian government has suspended officials' participation in the international events to prevent the consequences of novel coronavirus outbreak, Tehran Times daily reported.

 "In line with fulfilment of the president's verdict, the entire foreign trips of government officials and staff (except for the Foreign Ministry) to participate in the international gatherings and exhibitions will be cancelled until the next announcement," Jahangiri said in an announcement.

UAE advises against travel abroad

The United Arab Emirates has urged citizens and other residents to avoid travelling abroad because of concerns over a coronavirus, state news agency WAM said on Thursday. 

Authorities in the Gulf state may order medical checks on returning travellers and ask them to stay in isolation at home, pending the outcome, WAM said, citing a health ministry statement.

Saudi Arabia confirms 2nd case

The Saudi Health Ministry said in a statement on the Saudi Press Agency that the second case arrived with the first case from Iran through Bahrain. 

Oman records three new cases 

Two Iranian nationals and one Omani citizen were tested positive for the virus known as COVID-19, bringing to 15 the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, the Omani Ministry of Health said Wednesday in a statement.

With Xinhua, Bloomberg inputs