Asia virus latest: S. Koreans back to school; China trade warning


Singapore (AFP)

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

- Schools reopen in South Korea -

Hundreds of thousands of South Korean students returned to school as educational establishments started reopening after a coronavirus delay of more than two months.

Students lined up for temperature checks and were given sanitisers for their hands as they entered school premises while teachers greeted them with smiles and occasional elbow bumps.

- China trade growth warning -

A recovery in China's trade growth is not sustainable unless the coronavirus pandemic is brought under control globally, the minister of industry and information technology warned.

China's exports saw a surprise increase in April, partly because of rising medical product shipments, as production resumed after months of closures to control the outbreak, while imports and exports fell less than expected in renminbi terms during the first four months.

But Miao Wei told a news conference that "although our imports and exports in renminbi terms from January to April have increased moderately, I think that if the global pandemic cannot come under effective control, this is unsustainable".

- Kiwis eye shorter work week after lockdown -

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern raised the prospect of Kiwis enjoying extra public holidays and a shorter working week to help kickstart New Zealand's post-lockdown economy.

Ardern said she wanted to encourage "nimble" and creative ideas for recovery after a strict seven-week lockdown that helped New Zealand contain COVID-19 but stalled the economy.

- S. Korean football league to investigate 'sex doll' row -

A top South Korean football club accused of using sex dolls to fill empty seats in its stands will face disciplinary proceedings this week, K-league officials said.

With fans banned from matches because of the coronavirus, FC Seoul came under fire for deploying dozens of silicone spectators wearing T-shirts or holding placards with the logo of a sex-toy seller.

- No hugs as China football draws up virus plan -

The Chinese Super League (CSL) will be stripped of exuberant goal celebrations -- and fans -- as it attempts to start during the coronavirus pandemic, reports said.

The CSL has ambitions of launching the season in late June or early July, and Chinese football authorities have drawn up detailed plans to keep players and fans safe.

- Asian stocks rally stalls -

Asian markets were mixed as a rally over the previous two days ran out of steam on profit-taking, with investor confidence also tempered by ongoing worries about the long-term damage that lockdowns are having on the global economy.