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Thursday, April 09, 2020, 22:49
Virus: Japan infections top 5,000 despite state of emergency
By Agencies
Thursday, April 09, 2020, 22:49 By Agencies

A department store's notice for its temporarily closure is seen Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Tokyo. (EUGENE HOSHIKO / AP)

SINGAPORE / TOKYO / SYDNEY / DUBAI / DHAKA / KABUL / KUWAIT CITY / TEHRAN / HANOI / BEIRUT - The Bank of Japan cut its economic assessment for all of the country’s nine regions in a quarterly report released on Thursday, underscoring the broadening fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The governor of central Japan’s Aichi, which includes the city of Nagoya and also hosts Toyota Motor Corp, on Thursday said he would declare a state of emergency for his prefecture the following day.

Tokyo has more than 180 new cases of the coronavirus infection on Thursday, which is the highest daily jump, Japanese domestic media including publich broadcaster NHK reported.

The total number of Japanese novel coronavirus infections climbed to at least 5,000, showing no signs of slowing despite a state of emergency being imposed this week on Tokyo and six other areas.

The new cases were reported in nearly all parts of Japan and included at least five police officers in Fujisawa, a city just south of Tokyo, Kyodo news agency said.

Afghanistan

The number of patients infected with the COVID-19 in Afghanistan has risen to 484, Wahidullah Mayar, the spokesman for the Public Health Ministry, said on Thursday.

According to Mayar, 40 more positive cases have been confirmed over the past 24 hours and of these, 10 are in the capital city Kabul, 14 in the western Nimroz which borders Iran and the remaining are in other parts of the insurgency-plagued country.

On Tuesday, the number of patients affected with the virus was counted 423 and since then the number of patients carrying the disease has reached 484.

Fifteen COVID-19 affected patients have died since the outbreak of the virus in mid February in Afghanistan and 32 others have recovered, Mayar asserted.

Mayar also called upon the Afghans to stay at home and warned of catastrophe if the people overlook the security measures and advices given by the Public Health Ministry.

Bangladesh

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh have risen sharply, with capital Dhaka emerging as the battlefront of the country.

A total of 112 more cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours as of 8:00 a.m. local time Thursday, bringing the total to 330, Bangladeshi Health Minister Zahid Maleque said at an online press conference.

One man in his 60s was confirmed dead from COVID-19 in Dhaka, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country to 21, he said.

This is by far Bangladesh's biggest daily jump over a 24-hour period since the country announced its first detection of three COVID-19 cases on March 8.

Lebanon

Lebanon’s government has extended its almost month-long coronavirus shutdown by another two weeks until April 26 to combat the spread of the disease, the information minister said on Thursday.

Since Lebanon declared a state of medical emergency last month, people are allowed to leave their homes only to buy food or medicine, and most businesses have closed. The only airport is also shut, except for a few flights returning expatriots stranded abroad.

An overnight curfew largely bans people from going outside between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m., with security forces enforcing curbs.

As of Thursday, the country had 582 cases of the illness, with 19 deaths, according to the government’s website on the virus. For Lebanon, the outbreak came at a time when the country was already deep in financial crisis.

New Zealand

From Thursday every New Zealander boarding a flight to return home will be required to undergo quarantine or "managed isolation" in an approved facility for a minimum of 14 days.

"Nearly 40,000 New Zealanders have returned home since March 20 ... that is more than all of the hotel rooms across the country that we could have properly housed people in," Primie Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

 "The government has gone harder earlier with border measures compared to other countries, but even one person slipping through the cracks and bringing the virus in can see an explosion in cases as we have observed with some of our bigger clusters," Ardern said.

New Zealand reported 23 new confirmed and six new probable cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total number of confirmed and probable infections to 1,239 in the country.

One person has died from COVID-19 so far, and 317 people have recovered. 12 significant clusters are found across the country and that community transmission accounts for 2 percent of the cases. 


Singapore

Singapore confirmed 287 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, the biggest daily increase yet, taking the total in the city-state to 1,910, its health ministry said.

More than 200 of the new cases were linked to outbreaks in foreign worker dormitories. Singapore has quarantined thousands of workers in dormitories after they were linked to several cases of the COVID-19 respiratory disease.

Six people infected with the disease have died in Singapore and authorities are investigating the death of a seventh person who was also infected but had other complications.

Australia

The Australian Government has announced free mental health support for those affected by COVID-19.

Greg Hunt, the Minister for Health, on Thursday announced A$10 million (US$6.2 million) in funding for the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service, which will be run by Beyond Blue - Australia's mental health support organization.

Australia's Treasurer has shot down calls from business leaders for the government to lift social distancing measures.

Australian police have spoken to the captain of a cruise ship which disembarked hundreds of passengers infected with the coronavirus in Sydney, as part of a homicide investigation into the country’s deadliest single source of infection.

There had been 6,052 diagnosed cases of the virus in Australia as of Thursday morning, an increase of 1.6 percent from 5,956 on Wednesday morning. The toll stands at 51. 

Foreign tourists wait to be checked by German Embassy staff at Christchurch Airport terminal as they prepare to check in for a charter flight back to Germany via Vancouver from Christchurch, New Zealand, April 6, 2020. (PHOTO / AP)

Cambodia

Cambodia's Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has decided to postpone secondary and high school exams in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Khmer Times reported on Thursday.

Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Hang Chuon Naron issued a notice on Wednesday, saying the ministry had decided to postpone the two national exams, which were previously scheduled for August.

India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday  that India shall do everything possible to help humanity's fight against the COVID-19 as the government allowed NGOs and charitable organizations running in the country to provide cooked food to the poor and needy people.

Meanwhile, India's top court on Wednesday ordered that state-run and private laboratories shall conduct the COVID-19 tests for free.

The Supreme Court passed the interim directions in a plea seeking directions to the federal government to conduct the test for free after private laboratories were allowed to charge US$59 to do it.

India's Health Ministry said on Thursday that the death toll due to COVID-19 in India rose to 166 and the total number of confirmed cases in the country reached 5,734.

This is a jump of 17 deaths and an increase of 540 cases since Wednesday morning.

Indonesia

Indonesia confirmed on Thursday the biggest daily jump in coronavirus infections since cases were first announced last month, with 337 new cases taking the total to 3,293, said a health ministry official, Achmad Yurianto.

Yurianto reported 40 new deaths, taking the total to 280, while 252 people have recovered.

Iran

The number of COVID-19 cases in Iran reached 66,220 on Thursday, with an increase of 1,634 in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health and Medical Education said.

With 117 new deaths, the death toll has reached 4,110 as of Thursday, said Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of the ministry, during his daily brief on state TV.

A total of 32,309 have recovered and left hospitals, while 3,918 are still in critical condition, Jahanpur added.

So far, 231,393 tests for COVID-19 have been carried out in the country, he noted.

The Iranian health official urged people to adhere to the principles of social distancing, particularly when the low-risk businesses are scheduled to reopen on Saturday.

With a population of 82 million, Iran announced the first cases of COVID-19 on Feb 19, so far recording the highest number of confirmed cases and death toll in the Middle East region.

Israel

Israel reported six new death cases from the novel coronavirus, bringing the death toll to 79, the Ministry of Health said Thursday.

Meanwhile, the number of the coronavirus cases in Israel has risen to 9,755, the ministry added.

People line up to receive food during lockdown to prevent the spread of new coronavirus in Jammu, India, April 8, 2020. (PHOTO / AP)

Jordan

Jordan announced a 48-hour sweeping nationwide curfew that would start from Thursday midnight, in a stepped-up bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus, the government spokesman said.

The government two weeks ago relaxed a tight curfew that allowed people to go on foot during day time to buy groceries to ease daily life for the nearly 10 million inhabitants.

Kuwait

Kuwait reported on Thursday 55 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number in the country to 910, the health ministry said in a statement.

Among the new cases are 51 with a history of contact with infected patients, according to the ministry statement.

The cause of the infection for the other four cases is still under investigation.

So far, 798 patients are receiving treatment, including 22 in ICU, the statement said, adding the number of recoveries has reached 111.

On April 4, Kuwait reported the first death case of COVID-19.

The Kuwaiti government has decided to impose a nationwide curfew to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

On March 13, Kuwait suspended all commercial flights. The government also decided to close stores, malls and barbershops. 

Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan reported 10 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number to 280, the country's health ministry said Thursday.

Deputy Health Minister Mademin Karataev told a news briefing on Thursday that two of the newly infected are medical workers. So far, a total of 34 doctors in the country have been infected.

Laos

Laos has detected one more COVID-19 case, binging the total number in the country to 16, the Health Ministry said Thursday.

Lao Deputy Minister of Health Phouthone Meaungpak told a press conference in Lao capital Vientiane on Thursday that the new case involves a 23-year-old woman living in Vientiane, who had a close contact with the eighth infected case announced on March 28.

Oman

The Omani government decided on Wednesday to impose a lockdown on the governorate of Muscat to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

The lockdown will last from April 10 until April 22, excluding the cases of urgency and those who have special permits for their work.

The Omani Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday 48 new confirmed cases with the COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the Sultanate to 419.

Palestine

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday decided to start an emergency budget in the Palestinian territories amid the COVID-19 spread.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates announced on Wednesday that 23 Palestinians who live in abroad have died from COVID-19, including three doctors.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said that two new cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed in the West Bank, bringing the total number of infections to 263 in the Palestinian territories.  

Qatar

Qatar on Wednesday confirmed 153 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections to 2,210, according to a daily statement by the health ministry.

"Twenty-eight people recovered and this raises the total number of recoveries to 178, while the death toll remains at six," the official Qatar News Agency quoted the ministry's statement as saying.

The ministry added that 41,818 people have been tested for COVID-19 in the country.

READ MORE: Israelis mark Passover in virutal isolation

Thai man, some with face masks play a game of soccer in an open lot in Bangkok, Thailand, April 8, 2020. Playgrounds and public parks remained closed as a month-long state of emergency has been enforced in Thailand. (PHOTO / AP)

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia will contribute US$500 million to the United Nations humanitarian response plan for Yemen in 2020 and US$25 million to help combat the spread of the new coronavirus, the kingdom’s vice defense minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, said on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia announced on Wednesday 327 new coronavirus cases, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The total infection cases increased to 2,932, including 631 recoveries and 41 deaths, the spokesperson of the Health Minister, Mohammed Abdulaali told the daily press briefing.

South Korea

South Korea reported 39 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of midnight Thursday local time, raising the total number of infections to 10,423.

The newly confirmed cases hovered around 50 for the fourth straight day. Of the total new cases, 23 were imported ones.

Four more deaths were confirmed, lifting the death toll to 204. The total fatality rate came in at 1.96 percent.

Thailand

Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, banned alcohol sales for a week and a half to help prevent social gatherings that could spread the virus that causes COVID -19. The same measure also applies to its northern city Chiang Mai. 

The ban effects from April 10 to April 20 and is the metropolitan region’s latest effort to contain a surge in infections since early March. 

The Ministry of Interior said on Thursday it will grant a grace period to the foreigners straned in the country while expatriates with Thai permanent residency and are unable to return to report themselves will also be allowed a grace period until the situation improves.  

Thailand reported 54 new coronavirus cases and 2 more deaths on Thursday, taking the total confirmed cases and deaths to 2,423 and 32 respectively.

Meanwhile, the Songkran festival, annually held throughout Thailand, has been indefinitely postponed for fear of a further spread of the disease. 

Turkey

As the second worst hit country in the Middle East, the Turkish government will ban layoffs for three months and provide a daily stipend of almost 40 liras (US$5.8) to people who aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits and lost their jobs after March 15, NTV reported Wednesday, citing a draft law proposal by the ruling AK Party. The proposal grants President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the right to extend the ban by up to six months, NTV said.

Turkey’s confirmed cases of coronavirus increased by 4,117 in the last 24 hours, and 87 people have died, taking the death toll to 812, the health ministry announced on Wednesday.

The total number of recovered cases stood at 1,846, and the number of tests carried out over the last 24 hours was 24,900, the health ministry said.

Turkey’s total confirmed cases stood at 38,226, the ministry said.

A crowd control ambassador (in white) monitors social distancing of people as they wait to enter the Geylang Serai market to buy groceries in Singapore on April 8, 2020. (ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP)

The Philippines 

The Philippines reported 21 new deaths and 206 additional cases of the coronavirus, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Total deaths have reached 203 and cases have risen to 4,076 while 28 more patients have recovered to take that total to 124, the ministry said in a bulletin.

ALSO READ: Tokyo sees biggest daily jump in infections as emergency begins

Vietnam

Vietnam's Ministry of Health on Thursday afternoon confirmed four more COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of the cases in the country to 255.

The four new cases, all Vietnamese, include two people recently returning from Russia and Cambodia respectively, and two reportedly in close contact with earlier confirmed cases.

Vietnam has 2,544 suspected cases with nearly 75,000 being monitored and quarantined as of Thursday evening, while 128 patients have recovered with no deaths reported so far in the country, according to the health ministry. 

More than 1,000 healthcare workers and 14,400 others linked to a COVID-19 outbreak at a hospital in Hanoi have tested negative for the coronavirus, the Vietnamese capital’s ruling body said on Thursday.

Bach Mai hospital, one of the country’s biggest medical centers, has been under lockdown since March 28 after authorities became concerned that cases there would spiral out of control.

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