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Asia virus latest: China city in partial lockdown, Seoul sees test surge

A face mask was placed on the face of a giant Buddha statue outside Bangkok
A face mask was placed on the face of a giant Buddha statue outside Bangkok Mladen ANTONOV AFP
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Singapore (AFP)

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

- Chinese city in partial lockdown over 'major risk' of virus spread -

A northeastern Chinese city has partially shut its borders, cut off transport links and closed schools after the emergence of a local coronavirus cluster that has fuelled fears about a second wave of infections in China.

Jilin, with a population of more than four million, suspended bus services and said it will only allow residents to leave the city if they have tested negative for COVID-19 in the past 48 hours and complete an unspecified period of "strict self-isolation".

- Seoul sees virus tests surge after promising anonymity -

Coronavirus screening has surged in South Korea since authorities introduced anonymous testing, officials said, as they scrambled to tackle a nightclub cluster amid concerns anti-gay prejudice could impede the response.

The country has been held up as a global model in how to curb the virus, but a spike of new cases, driven by the cluster in venues in Seoul's Itaewon district -- including several gay clubs -- forced authorities to delay this week's planned re-opening of schools.

- Young sumo wrestler dies of virus in Japan -

A 28-year-old sumo wrestler died in Japan after contracting coronavirus and suffering multiple organ failure, becoming the ancient sport's first COVID-19 fatality, the national association said.

Shobushi, a lower-ranking wrestler belonging to the Takadagawa stable in Tokyo, died after battling the disease for more than a month.

- Two new infections end Hong Kong's 24-day clean sheet -

Two people in Hong Kong tested positive for coronavirus, officials said, ending a 24-day run of no new local cases that saw the city begin to ease social distancing regulations.

The financial hub was on course for 28 days of no local transmissions -- a yardstick often used by epidemiologists to judge if an outbreak has been defeated.

- Equities mixed with second wave fears in focus -

Asian markets were mixed but investors remain on edge after Donald Trump's top virus adviser warned that easing lockdown measures too early could spark another dangerous wave of infections and batter the economic recovery.

- Australia church fined for selling bleach as virus cure -

A church in Australia has been fined for unlawfully advertising a purported "miracle" coronavirus cure that contains a bleach product, the Therapeutic Goods Administration said.

The medical regulator said MMS Australia had received 12 fines totalling Aus$151,200 (US$98,000) for promoting its "Miracle Mineral Solution" (MMS), which the TGA said contained a high concentration of sodium chlorite -- a chemical used as a textile bleaching agent and disinfectant.

- Nepal sees biggest jump in cases -

Nepal saw the highest single-day jump in its coronavirus tally, reporting 83 cases.

But the country's total number of confirmed infections remains relatively low at 217, with a majority of the cases recorded in the country's southern districts adjoining India.

- Three of women's top 10 to star as golf returns to S. Korea -

Leading professional golfers will return to competitive action for the first time in months after the coronavirus shutdown when three of the world's top 10 women tee off in South Korea on Thursday.

The domestic showpiece KLPGA Championship will follow the country's football and baseball leagues in starting behind closed doors at the Lakewood Country Club in Yangju, northeast of Seoul.

- Free beer heads to Aussie outback -

Free beer is on its way to help Australians in Queensland's outback celebrate the loosening of coronavirus restrictions, with a major brewer donating 3,000 litres to pubs as they prepare to reopen this weekend.

"I'm sure there's going to be a lot of happy patrons, a lot of happy families and let the XXXX Gold start flowing," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told media.

Queensland's outback pubs will be allowed to welcome up to 20 patrons from Saturday as the nation slowly rolls back virus restrictions.

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