Asia virus latest: Vietnam eases lockdown; further Olympic delay 'impossible'

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Singapore (AFP)

Here are the latest developments from Asia related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

- Vietnam loosens curbs -

Vietnam eased some social distancing measures Thursday, with experts pointing to a decisive response involving mass quarantines and expansive contact tracing for the apparent success in containing the coronavirus.

The southeast Asian nation has recorded just 268 virus cases and zero deaths, according to official tallies.

- Impossible to delay Olympics again, says Tokyo chief -

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics cannot be delayed beyond the year-long postponement already forced by the coronavirus outbreak, the organising committee's president warned.

Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said there is "absolutely no" chance of postponing the Games beyond their rescheduled July 23, 2021 opening, according to Kyodo News agency.

- Oil rallies as Gulf tensions offset virus woes -

Oil prices rallied as escalating tensions between the US and Iran in the crude-rich Gulf lent support to markets battered by a coronavirus-triggered demand shock and concerns about storage.

Markets have had a rollercoaster ride this week, with US crude falling into negative territory for the first time as traders sought to offload oil but could not find buyers as storage facilities are reaching capacity.

- China reports no new deaths -

For the eighth straight day, China's National Health Commission reported no new deaths from COVID-19 in its daily figures.

It said China confirmed 10 new cases, six of them imported.

The country where the virus emerged last year has brought its domestic outbreak under control, but is now trying to stop infections coming in from overseas.

- More virus cases on ship docked in Japan -

At least 48 crew aboard a cruise ship docked in the Japanese city of Nagasaki have tested positive for coronavirus, local authorities said after confirming 14 additional cases.

The Costa Atlantica first arrived in Nagasaki in January to undergo repairs, with around 600 crew on board.

- South Korea economy shrinks over virus -

South Korea's economy saw its worst performance in more than a decade in the first quarter as the coronavirus epidemic raged across the country, the central bank said, with officials warning of a bigger impact still to come.

The world's 12th-largest economy endured one of the worst early outbreaks of the disease outside China, although it appears to have largely been contained thanks to an extensive "trace, test and treat" programme.

- Singapore, Hong Kong jail quarantine dodgers -

Singapore has handed down its first prison sentence for a virus-related offence, jailing a man for six weeks after he breached quarantine orders to go out for some food.

Alan Tham Xiang Sheng was ordered to stay home for 14 days after returning to Singapore from overseas in March, as part of measures aimed at halting the spread of the virus.

But he went out to a food court to enjoy a pork rib soup dish, according to local media, and also visited several other places.

Hong Kong has also jailed a number of people for breaching the city's strict quarantine guidelines.

On Monday a court sentenced an Indian businessman to four weeks behind bars, the first foreigner to receive a jail sentence, after he was caught breaking quarantine orders.

burs-sr/fox