Asia virus latest: Back to school in Wuhan; S. Korea returning to normal

Singapore (AFP) –


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

- Students in Wuhan return to school -

Chinese youngsters in the global virus epicentre of Wuhan filed back to class, wearing masks and walking in single file past thermal scanners.

Senior school students in 121 institutions were back in front of chalkboards and digital displays for the first time since their city -- the ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic -- shut down in January.

"School is finally reopening!" posted one user of Weibo, China's Twitter-like short messaging platform.

- South Korea returns largely to normal -

South Korea returned largely to normal as workers went back to offices, and museums and libraries reopened under eased social distancing rules after new coronavirus cases dropped to a trickle.

The country endured one of the worst early outbreaks of the disease outside China and while it never imposed a compulsory lockdown, strict social distancing had been widely observed since March.

- Stocks enjoy further gains as restrictions eased -

Most equities rose again as investors grew increasingly, but cautiously, hopeful that the worst of the coronavirus has passed and as countries begin to slowly open up from lockdown.

While a string of data highlighted the calamity visited upon the global economy by COVID-19, a slowdown in both infections and deaths in some nations is allowing them to ease restrictions that have kept half the planet stuck at home.

- Australia to begin plasma therapy research -

Research into using blood plasma from recovered coronavirus patients as a therapy for those who become infected is set to begin in Australia, the latest country to investigate the possible treatment.

Scientists in France, the United States and China are among nations already looking at using plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19.

Melbourne-based bio-pharmaceutical firm CSL Behring said the first phase of research in Australia would focus on developing a test to detect the presence of antibodies that fight the virus in plasma.

- Bangkok millionaires' club enjoys lockdown luxury -

Gourmet take-out delivered by a butler in a black sedan -- Thailand's super-rich have not forgone luxury during a pandemic which has locked the country down, crushed the economy and left millions unemployed.

For the rich in Bangkok, the pandemic has brought the inconvenience of restricted movement -- with an overnight curfew still in place despite some businesses reopening -- but no end to the lifestyle of plenty.

Concierge company the Silver Voyage Club has retooled its services to meet the cravings of the elite, delivering high-end meals from top-tier restaurants.