Here are the latest developments in Asia related to the coronavirus pandemic:
First confirmed death in Myanmar
Myanmar reported its first coronavirus death — a 69-year-old man who had returned to the country in mid-March after receiving cancer treatment in Australia.
The country of 54 million people, which has one of the region’s most under-developed healthcare systems, only confirmed its first case last week.
World Bank warns China growth could screech to halt
Economic fallout from the pandemic could bring China’s growth to a standstill, the World Bank said, warning of “an unprecedented global shock” that could also increase poverty across the region.
Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth in March as businesses grind back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand is devastated by the virus crisis.
Australia introduces tough penalties
Harsh penalties for violating virus-linked restrictions have been introduced in Australia, with New South Wales state bringing in fines of up to Aus$11,000 (US$6,800) and six months’ jail for people who leave home without a “reasonable excuse”, or gather in groups larger than two.
Liquor stores in the country also implemented new rules on purchases after a surge in panic-buying of alcohol — reportedly limiting customers to 12 bottles of wine, two cases of beer or cider, or two bottles of spirits.
Hundreds buried in Jakarta, says governor
The governor of the Indonesian capital Jakarta, the epicentre of the country’s outbreak, said nearly 300 suspected and confirmed victims of the virus had been wrapped in plastic and quickly buried in the city since the start of this month.
He has been pushing for a total lockdown of Jakarta, a move so far resisted by the president. His warning fuelled fears that Indonesia’s death toll is higher than the official figure of 122.
Japan tightens travel advice
Japan is now advising its citizens to avoid travelling to 73 countries and regions worldwide in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.
People are also being advised to avoid non-essential travel to all other parts of the world, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters.
Markets bounce back
Asian equities rose strongly following another rally on Wall Street, while oil bounced, with traders welcoming the surprise jump in Chinese factory activity, though analysts cautioned that the road ahead remained rocky for the global economy.
Global markets have suffered historic falls in recent weeks as the virus batters economies worldwide.
China delays exams, South Korean school year to start
China is postponing its notoriously difficult college entrance tests from June to July, following months of uncertainty due to the coronavirus outbreak.
South Korea will finally start its three-times-delayed school year next week but all classes will be online.
All air travellers arriving in South Korea will undergo mandatory quarantine for two weeks from Wednesday, authorities announced, expanding a rule that already applied to most arrivals from Europe and the United States.
Magnet mishap puts would-be virus device inventor in hospital
An Australian astrophysicist bored by coronavirus isolation saw his attempted invention to stop people catching the disease go hilariously wrong when he landed in hospital with magnets stuck up his nose.
The accident happened when Daniel Reardon, a research fellow at Swinburne University in Melbourne, was working to create a necklace-like device that would buzz when its wearer brought their hands too close to their face.