Asia virus latest: Anzac vigils held in isolation, sumo wrestling hit

Hong Kong (AFP) –


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

- Driveway vigils for Anzac Day -

Australians and New Zealanders marked Anzac Day from the isolation of their driveways to honour their armed forces after the pandemic saw parades cancelled and ceremonies closed to the public.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was among those observing dawn vigils in front of their homes, while Australia's leader Scott Morrison attended an official Canberra ceremony forced behind closed doors.

Anzac Day marks the 1915 landing of troops at Gallipoli on the Turkish peninsula in an ill-fated World War I campaign against German-backed Ottoman forces that killed about 10,000 Australian and New Zealand servicemen.

- Sri Lanka to lift curfew -

Sri Lanka announced the lifting of a nationwide curfew after more than five weeks under lockdown despite the number of new coronavirus infections spiking in the past two days.

Police said the curfew will be lifted on Monday but travel restrictions would remain in place in four coastal regions, including the capital Colombo, which accounts for the bulk of the country's 420 COVID-19 cases.

An entire navy camp was placed under quarantine on Friday after 60 sailors tested positive for the virus, making the base the biggest cluster of infections on the South Asian island.

- Sumo wrestler tests positive -

Japan's sumo wrestling calendar is in doubt after a competitor and his trainer tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of a major tournament scheduled for next month.

The Japan Sumo Association said wrestler Hakuyozan and his stable master Takadagawa had contracted the virus along with four sumo trainees.

It did not mention any change to future events but local media said the infections placed Tokyo's Summer Grand Sumo Tournament in jeopardy.

A low-ranking wrestler also tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month -- the first confirmed case in the sport.

The association has already been forced to move one tournament behind closed doors and postpone others.

- Aussie chef fined over treatment claim -

Australian celebrity chef Pete Evans has been fined thousands of dollars after promoting a "light machine" which he claimed could help treat coronavirus.

Evans was handed the Aus$25,000 (US$16,000) penalty over his assertion that the BioCharger device -- which looks like a cross between a blender and a lava lamp -- could be used to help beat COVID-19.

"It's programmed with about a thousand different recipes, there's a couple on there for Wuhan coronavirus," Evans said in a Facebook live video earlier this month.

But Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration said his claim had "no apparent foundation".

The maker of the machine, Advanced Biotechnologies, describes it as a "Subtle Energy Revitalisation Platform" but issued a statement that said the BioCharger was not a medical device.

Evans has previously been criticised by medical experts over questionable health advice such as suggesting bone broth as a substitute for baby formula and claiming that fluoride in drinking water is toxic.