Asia Today: Sri Lanka reimposes curfew; India eases lockdown


Health officials watch thermographic monitors at a quarantine inspection station at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. Countries both in the Asia-Pacific and elsewhere have initiated body temperature checks at airports, railway stations and along highways in hopes of catching those at risk of carrying a new coronavirus that has sickened more than 200 people in China. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

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BANGKOK (AP) — Sri Lanka has reimposed a countrywide 24-hour curfew after a surge in the number of coronavirus cases, most of them navy sailors who were searching for those evading quarantine.

The 46 new infections on Friday were the highest in a day. The Indian Ocean island nation has confirmed 420 cases of the virus, including seven deaths, and has ramped up testing.

Sri Lanka partially lifted a monthlong curfew on Monday during daytime hours in more than two thirds of the country.

The new curfew imposed on Friday night remains in effect until Monday. Police have arrested more than 30,000 violators.

Among the newly infected were 30 navy sailors from a camp on the outskirts of the capital, Colombo. A total 60 sailors so far have been infected and the camp has been isolated.

The virus is believed to have entered the camp through sailors who were deployed to search for a group of drug addicts who had contact with a COVID-19 patient and were evading quarantine.

Sri Lanka’s health ministry said Saturday that it has significantly increased the number of coronavirus tests being done. Some 1,500 tests were performed on Saturday — more than double the roughly 700 tests on Thursday, and over 350 more than the 1,142 tests on Friday, according to the ministry.

— INDIA EASES LOCKDOWN: India announced the easing of a stringent lockdown for its 1.3 billion people by allowing neighborhood and standalone shops to reopen. India has reported more than 24,500 coronavirus cases and 775 deaths. Last week, the government allowed resumption of manufacturing and farming activities in rural areas as millions of daily wage earners were left without work.

— NO NEW DEATHS IN CHINA: China reported no new deaths from the coronavirus for the 10th straight day. Twelve new cases were reported on Saturday — 11 brought from overseas and one local transmission in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang bordering Russia, according to the National Health Commission. Just 838 people remain hospitalized with COVID-19 while another 1,000 are undergoing isolation and monitoring for being either suspected cases or having tested positive for the virus while showing no symptoms. China, widely believed to be the source of the global pandemic, has reported 4,632 deaths among 82,816 cases.

— AUSTRALIA MARKS ANZAC DAY WITH HOME VIGILS: Traditional crowds at dawn services for the Anzac Day memorial holiday in Australia were replaced with candlelit vigils in driveways and neighbors gathering to listen to buglers play “The Last Post.” Restrictions on crowds and social distancing due to the coronavirus meant that the usual packed dawn services in cities and towns across the country were not held. The holiday, also celebrated in New Zealand, marks the anniversary of New Zealand and Australian soldiers, known as Anzacs, landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. In New Zealand, where even tighter crowd restrictions are in place, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stood at dawn on the driveway of Premier House, the leader’s official residence, for a ceremony.

— DOWNWARD TREND HOLDS IN S. KOREA: South Korea reported 10 new cases of the new coronavirus, the eighth day in a row of a jump below 20. No new deaths were reported Saturday for the second straight day. The figures released by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought national totals to 10,718 cases and 240 deaths.


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