Published: 17:25, May 7, 2020 | Updated: 03:03, June 6, 2023
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Asia eases rules; Africa stays alert
By Xinhua

People relax at the Cheonggye Stream as daily life is slowly returning to normal amid a lifting of restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea, May 7, 2020. South Korea says it'll expand its humanitarian shipments of masks to other countries amid waning domestic cases of the coronavirus. (AHN YOUNG-JOON / AP)

SEOUL-Some Asian countries are gradually easing social distancing rules to restore a semblance of normal life to their people after seeing a slowdown in new coronavirus cases, while African and Latin American countries are still battling the virus.

This means that as long as the people follow the government's new hygiene guidelines, they can take part in outdoor activities and mass-gathering events, Yonhap News Agency said

Starting on Wednesday, South Korea officially shifted to an "everyday life quarantine" following more than two months of "intensive social distancing" in line with a consistent and continuous flattening of the country's infection curve.

This means that as long as the people follow the government's new hygiene guidelines, they can take part in outdoor activities and mass-gathering events, Yonhap News Agency said.

In Indonesia, President Joko Widodo signed a government regulation in lieu of law on Monday to postpone the Sept 23 regional elections until at least December due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The country had recorded a total of 12,071 COVID-19 cases and 872 fatalities as of Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Lebanon is set to extend its lockdown by two weeks until May 24 with the prime minister warning on Tuesday that a failure to comply with a gradual easing of restrictions risked a second wave of infections.

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The government started to ease some restrictions this week, allowing restaurants to open but at only 30 percent of their capacity.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the general assessment was "excellent". But he also said that "citizens did not comply with the restrictions and measures that are being gradually reduced".

Lebanon has recorded 740 cases and 25 deaths.

In Yemen, authorities in Houthiheld north Yemen confirmed their first COVID-19 case on Tuesday, while the government in the south of the war-torn nation reported nine new infections.

Yemen has reported 21 cases, including three deaths, in territory held by the internationally recognized government, and one case, a death, in areas under the Iranaligned Houthis.

The World Health Organization has said it fears COVID-19 could rip through Yemen as the population has some of the lowest levels of immunity to disease compared with other countries.

In Africa, over 42,500 cases have been reported in 53 countries across the continent. South Africa has the highest number of infections, at 7,572 as of Tuesday.

In Kenya, the ministry of health on Tuesday confirmed 45 new cases, taking total infections to 535.

Mutai Kagwe, cabinet secretary for health, said the figures are an indication that "things are not getting better" and the country will continue to see increasing numbers "unless we change".

Record daily deaths

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Elsewhere in the world, Brazil hit a record for daily coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, indicating that the nation is still in the thick of its battle against the virus, even as some areas of the country are beginning to open up.

The nation has now tallied 114,715 confirmed cases and 7,921 deaths, making it by far the hardest-hit country in Latin America.