Asia virus latest: Japan may declare emergency, Singapore quarantines dorms

Singapore (AFP) –


Here are the latest developments in Asia related to the coronavirus pandemic:

- Japan may declare emergency -

The Japanese government may declare a state of emergency this week to contain the coronavirus outbreak, media reports said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is reportedly set to make the declaration for parts of Japan including Tokyo, as the number of people infected with the virus continues to increase.

The news pushed up Tokyo stocks, with investors seeing the move as positive for containing the outbreak, analysts said.

- Singapore quarantines foreign workers -

The city-state has put nearly 20,000 migrant workers under quarantine for two weeks after a growing number of coronavirus infections were detected in their dormitories.

Authorities reported 120 new virus cases Sunday, the highest jump for the country in a single day, with many linked to foreign workers' dorms.

Many workers from less affluent countries, particularly parts of South Asia, come to Singapore to work in construction and are typically housed in large dormitory complexes.

- Markets up, oil down -

Asian markets rose as some of the world's worst-hit countries reported falling death rates, providing some much-needed hope in the battle against the coronavirus, though oil prices were rocked after a meeting of top producers was delayed.

- South Korea reports fewer than 50 cases -

South Korea reported fewer than 50 new coronavirus cases for the first time in more than six weeks, having once been the hardest-hit country outside China, where the virus first emerged.

The South confirmed 47 new cases on the previous day, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, taking its total to date to 10,284. It was the lowest increase since late February.

- Cyclone may undermine Vanuatu virus fight -

Fears are growing that a deadly Pacific cyclone smashing into Vanuatu could trigger a natural disaster which undermines the impoverished nation's battle to remain coronavirus-free.

Tropical Cyclone Harold, which claimed 27 lives when it swept through the Solomon Islands last week, strengthened to a scale-topping category five superstorm overnight, Vanuatu's meteorology service said.

- Locked-down India lights up to mark virus fight -

Twinkling flames from candles and traditional lamps lit up India's night sky Sunday in a nine-minute show to mark the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, which has left the vast nation in lockdown.

Across major cities and towns in the world's second-most populous country of 1.3 billion people, many heeded the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to turn off their lights at 9:00 pm local time.

- Japanese chefs serve up feast for French hospital staff -

Asparagus soup, cheesy profiteroles and fluffy chocolate mousse were on the menu as five Japanese chefs showed culinary gratitude to hospital workers treating coronavirus patients in the French city of Dijon.

"It's a way of saying 'arigato', thanks," said Takashi Kinoshita, chef at Chateau de Courban, a Michelin-starred eatery around two hours' drive from Paris.

- Sri Lanka evacuates German from cruise ship -

Sri Lanka carried out a mercy mission to evacuate a sick German woman from a cruise ship that entered the island’s territorial waters to take in food, water and other logistics, the navy said.

It was not immediately clear if she was infected with the coronavirus, but authorities for the cruise liner had previously maintained there were no cases of COVID-19 onboard the vessel, which was carrying about 1,700 people.