Asia virus latest: Trump slams 'puppet of China' WHO; Beijing seeks to stop wildlife trade

Singapore (AFP) –


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

- Trump slams WHO as 'puppet of China' -

President Donald Trump threatened to pull the US out of the World Health Organization, accusing it of botching the global coronavirus response and of being a "puppet of China".

The American leader has been locked in a bitter spat with Beijing, alleging it covered up the initial outbreak in central China late last year before the disease unleashed death and economic devastation across the planet.

- China offers farmers cash to give up wildlife trade -

Farmers in China are being offered cash to quit breeding exotic animals as pressure grows to crack down on the illegal wildlife trade that has been blamed for the coronavirus outbreak.

Authorities have for the first time pledged to buy out breeders in an attempt to curb the practice, animal rights activists say.

- Puppy scammers target lonely Aussies during lockdown -

Australia is suffering a wave of puppy scams as fraudsters target the lonely and locked down with fake online offers of cavoodles, French bulldogs and other popular pooches, authorities said.

The consumer watchdog ACCC said the scammers fleeced people looking for a new pet out of some Aus$300,000 (US$196,000) in April alone, five times higher than the normal monthly average.

- Vaccine hope and easing of lockdowns fuel Asia stocks rally -

Hopes for a vaccine to treat coronavirus and a further easing of lockdown measures around the world spurred a rally on Asian markets as investors tracked a surge across Europe and Wall Street.

A half-a-trillion-dollar Franco-German plan to support the European Union economy also lifted confidence, while Australian investors brushed off news that China had imposed massive tariffs on barley imported from the country.

- Indonesia's gravediggers battle virus fears, stigma -

Gravedigger Junaidi Hakim shouts "hurry up" as he summons his weary colleagues in a never-ending race to bury novel coronavirus victims at a Jakarta cemetery.

The team switches quickly from digging fresh graves to burying the bodies -- aiming to get the task done in under 10 minutes to lessen the chance of getting infected themselves.

Gravediggers at the Indonesian capital's cemetery, who did not initially have protective gear, also face neighbours' fears -- worried about the spread of the disease.

- Oz football warns players over one-night stands -

Australian Rules footballers have reportedly been told to limit their sexual partners to minimise the chances of COVID-19 disrupting plans for a season restart next month.

AFL officials have told players that one-night stands will not be banned but they could be punished if they engage in risky behaviour such as a string of hook-ups, Melbourne's Herald-Sun reported.