MANILA/KUALA LUMPUR/BEIJING: Manila announced nighttime curfews on Saturday and urged shopping malls to close for one month, in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus, as the Philippines reported its eighth death and the largest single-day increase in confirmed cases.
Malaysia reported 41 new cases, all linked to a religious event on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur that was attended by about 10,000 people from several countries.
Indonesian Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has been hospitalised in Jakarta after he contracted coronavirus, a government official said on Saturday, the most high-profile case so far to be confirmed in the Southeast Asian country.
Indonesia’s capital city will close all schools and order remote teaching for at least two weeks to curb the spread of coronavirus, Jakarta’s governor said. The country reported 27 more cases, bringing the total confirmed infections to 96.
Nepal has cancelled all climbing expedition permits for Everest in the spring climbing season.
Meanwhile, the number of new coronavirus cases imported into mainland China from overseas surpassed the number of locally transmitted new infections for the first time on Friday, according to data released by the National Health Commission.
Mainland China had 11 new confirmed cases on Friday, up from eight cases a day earlier, but only four of those — all in the virus epicentre of Hubei province— were locally transmitted, according to the data released on Saturday.
The other seven — including four in the financial hub of Shanghai, one in the capital Beijing and two in the northwestern province of Gansu —were all detected in travellers coming into China from overseas, specifically Italy, the United States and Saudi Arabia.
Later on Saturday, Shanghai’s city government confirmed a further two imported cases in travellers from France and Spain.
The Philippines’ health department on Saturday confirmed three new fatalities, including a patient in southern Philippines, bringing the total number of deaths to eight. It also reported 34 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 98.
In Malaysia, the new cases bring the total number of infected people in the Southeast Asian country to 238, the health ministry said in a statement.
A total of 81 cases in Malaysia have now been confirmed as linked to the same event held at a mosque between February 27 and March 1.
Prime Minister Muyiddin Yassin said on Friday that the country was facing a “second wave” of infections, and warned of an impact on economic growth. In neighbouring Brunei, 38 of the total 40 cases in the country had been linked to the religious gathering as of Saturday.
In Pakistan, a group of Islamic missionaries are holding a massive convention despite several warnings by authorities on the new coronavirus.
More than 100,000 members of the Tableeghi Jumaat have gathered at the group’s headquarters near Lahore.
The annual conference began on Wednesday and is due to continue until Sunday, said Abdul Waheed, a spokesman for the Jumaat network of Islamic missionaries in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, In India a Hindu group hosted a cow urine drinking party on Saturday as they believe it wards off the coronavirus, as many Hindus consider the cow sacred and some drink cow uri ne believing it has medicinal properties.
The “party,” hosted by a group called the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (All India Hindu Union) at its headquarters in the country’s capital, was attended by 200 people. — Reuters/AFP/dpa