Asia virus latest: Aussie jails report drugs spike; China warned of second wave

Hong Kong (AFP) –


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

- Virus takes toll on Bangladesh police -

More than 2,000 police officers in Bangladesh have been infected with the coronavirus after tens of thousands were deployed around the country to enforce a lockdown, officials told AFP.

A police source said at least eight police had died and 2,384 have been infected with the virus.

- Park wins 'virus-proofed' LPGA tournament -

The world's first big-purse post-coronavirus golf tournament wrapped up in South Korea, marked by a ban on spectators and stringent safety measures.

Players in the Korean LPGA Championship -- featuring three of the world's top ten women -- had to wear masks before and after their rounds, but could choose whether or not to do so during play, with most deciding against.

Park Hyun-kyung, the 20-year-old champion who took home $180,000 in winnings, was congratulated by her mask-wearing peers with elbow-bumps instead of handshakes.

- Aussie jails see spike in 'special deliveries' -

Prisons in Australia have seen a spike in drugs intercepted in mail since the coronavirus outbreak saw visits suspended, with substances concealed in letters, cards and even a child's painting, officials said.

Corrective Services NSW, which operates prisons in Australia's most populous state, said contraband had been seized from 135 mail items in April -- compared to a monthly average of around 22 in 2019.

- Long queues as Thai malls reopen -

Shoppers flocked to Thailand's top-end malls, eager for retail therapy in a gradual easing of restrictions to revive the virus-ravaged economy.

Hundreds of masked customers passed through temperature checks, disinfection stations, and had their photos taken before they were allowed into plush malls in Bangkok.

- Nepal police fire live rounds as Indian farmers try to cross border -

Nepal's police fired live rounds into the air to deter Indian farmers trying to cross the border to harvest corn during the coronavirus lockdown, an official said.

Nearly 150 Indians who rent land in Jhapa district in far-east Nepal -- which borders India's Bihar and West Bengal states -- tried to force their way across on Saturday, district chief Udaya Bahadur Ranamagar told AFP.

Nepal closed its 1,850-kilometre (1,150-mile) border with India on March 22 amid the pandemic, before imposing a nationwide lockdown two days later.

- Top official warns of second wave in China -

A top Chinese medical official said the country faces a potential second wave of coronavirus infections due to a lack of immunity among its population.

"The majority of... Chinese at the moment are still susceptible of the Covid-19 infection, because (of) a lack of immunity," Zhong Nanshan, the public face of the government's response to the pandemic, told CNN.

"We are facing (a) big challenge," Zhong added. "It's not better than the foreign countries I think at the moment."

- Hamster tests show masks reduce coronavirus spread: scientists -

Tests on hamsters reveal the widespread use of facemasks reduces transmission of the deadly coronavirus, a team of leading experts in Hong Kong said.

The research by the University of Hong Kong is some of the first to specifically investigate whether masks can stop symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers from infecting others.

Surgical masks were placed between the two cages with air flow travelling from the infected animals to the healthy ones.

The researchers found non-contact transmission of the virus could be reduced by more than 60 percent when the masks were used.