Asia virus latest: Olympics postponed, India under lockdown

·3-min read

Here are the latest developments in Asia related to the novel coronavirus pandemic: - Olympics delay - After days of mounting pressure, Tokyo 2020 organisers bowed to the inevitable and postponed the Games to next year due to the rapidly-spreading outbreak. Now Japan faces the unenviable task of re-organising the event -- with every aspect thrown into chaos, from venues, to security and accommodation. - India puts 1.3 billion under lockdown - People in the world's second most-populous nation began their first day under a "total lockdown" ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, following a surge in cases. "To save India, to save its every citizen, you, your family ... every street, every neighbourhood is being put under lockdown," said Modi in a nationally televised address. The measure, to last three weeks, means that about 2.6 billion people worldwide -- about a third of the global population -- are now under some form of movement restriction. - China lifts curbs, panda centre reopens - China lifted tough restrictions on the province at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak after a months-long lockdown, as the country reported no new domestic cases. But there were another 47 imported infections from overseas, the National Health Commission said, as the number of cases brought into the country continued to swell. A research and breeding facility for giant pandas reopened in southwest Sichuan province two months after closing due to the coronavirus, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Precautions remain in place such as capping the daily number of visitors at 5,000, and its panda-themed theatre is still shuttered for now. - Markets soar on US stimulus hopes - Asian markets enjoyed another day of gains on hopes that US lawmakers were close to agreeing a deal worth about $2 trillion to combat the economic fallout from the pandemic, tracking a record bounce on Wall Street. Markets worldwide have suffered massive falls in recent weeks as the outbreak has accelerated, stoking fears of a long, deep global recession. - New Zealand PM assumes emergency powers - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern assumed sweeping emergency powers ahead of a four-week lockdown beginning at midnight Wednesday, and immediately ramped up border controls to allow detention of overseas arrivals. Authorities now have the power to seal off areas and detain people to ensure self-isolation rules are followed. Ardern in theory has the power to amend any legislation at will -- but said she intended to remain accountable. - Hong Kongers urged to report quarantine breaches - Authorities in the financial hub have urged members of the public to report anyone breaching mandatory two-week quarantine after returning from overseas using a dedicated app or via a telephone. Police said seven people were apprehended on Wednesday alone thanks to tips from the public. Hong Kong has effectively shut itself off to all foreigners while any resident or local returning from overseas must self-quarantine for 14 days. - Australian charged over 'virus' coughing - A 21-year-old man was charged with intimidation and hampering police work, after he allegedly pretended to have coronavirus and coughed on a police station employee. burs-sr/mtp