Asia virus latest: Olympics postponed, India under lockdown

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.

- Markets soar on US stimulus deal -

Asian markets enjoyed another day of gains as the US Senate and White House reached a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus package for the economy and millions of Americans hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.

Markets have suffered huge falls in recent weeks as the spreading pandemic stokes fears of a 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.

- Bali's 'Day of Silence' hit by virus fears -

Bali's "Day of Silence" was even quieter than usual this year as coronavirus fears prompted authorities to scale back an annual celebration that sees the Hindu-majority island in Indonesia come to a near standstill.

Colourful street parades that usually accompany the "Nyepi" festival, which sees many people stay at home for 24 hours to reflect, were drastically reduced.

- Malaysia extends lockdown -

The government extended tough restrictions aimed at combating the spread of the virus until April 14, as infections surged by 172 to 1,796, the highest figure in Southeast Asia. Seventeen people have died.

The curbs, which involve people being ordered to stay home as well as business and school closures, were originally set to be lifted on March 31.

- 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.

burs-sr/mtp