Asia virus latest: Olympics face pandemic threat; China decries ‘lies’
Here are the latest developments from Asia related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:
– Olympics to be cancelled if pandemic not over: Games chief -The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be cancelled if the coronavirus pandemic isn’t brought under control by next year, the organising committee’s president said.
The pandemic has already forced a year-long delay of the Games — which are now scheduled to open on July 23, 2021 — but Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said no further postponement was possible.
In an interview with Japan’s Nikkan Sports daily, Mori was categorical when asked if the Olympics could be delayed until 2022 if the pandemic remains a threat next year, replying: “No.”
– China decries ‘barefaced lies’ over virus handling -China went on the offensive against international criticism over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, accusing US politicians of “barefaced lies”.
The new virus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year before spreading across the world, and countries including the United States and Australia have called for an investigation into how the disease transformed into a global pandemic.
But Beijing came out swinging in response to foreign criticism, saying the US was attacking China to divert attention from its own handling of the outbreak.
– Surf’s up: Sydney re-opens Bondi Beach –
Hundreds of Sydney-siders rushed into the waves at the city’s famous Bondi Beach as Australia took the first steps in easing coronavirus restrictions.
Dozens of eager surfers jumped railings and hit the water even before the beach officially opened at 7:00 am, five weeks after police sealed the area off because of large crowds ignoring social distancing orders.
– Optimism, with a side of fries, as Kiwi lockdown eases -New Zealanders satisfied their cravings for hamburgers and coffee as a five-week lockdown eased, as hopes swelled that the country’s coronavirus outbreak was under control.
Lines of cars snaked along drive-thru lanes at McDonald’s outlets around the country, with the fast-food chain reporting 50 vehicles queued before dawn in the North Island town of Hastings.
– Asian markets mixed, oil sinks -Asian stocks were mixed as government moves to ease lockdown measures around the world were offset by profit-taking from Monday’s rally, while US oil prices suffered another collapse.
– South Korean football snapped up by desperate broadcasters -Broadcasters in 10 foreign territories have bought rights to air the upcoming South Korean football season, the K-League said, with major sports on hold around the world over the coronavirus pandemic.
South Korea endured one of the worst early outbreaks of the disease outside China, prompting professional sports to suspend or delay seasons.
– Thailand extends state of emergency -Thailand extended its state of emergency until the end of May, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said, as the country recorded its second consecutive day of new infections in single digits.
Despite the slowdown in cases — with only seven recorded Tuesday — authorities are wary of easing restrictions in case it leads to a second wave.
– Deaf Indonesians turn to clear virus masks -Deaf people in Indonesia have been thrown a lifeline by a husband and wife team making see-through facemasks to aid with lip reading.
“Since the pandemic started, everyone is wearing facemasks. For deaf people, we can’t understand what others are saying because we can’t read their lips,” said 52-year-old Faizah Badaruddin.
She and her husband, from Makassar on Sulawesi island, started producing cloth masks with transparent plastic which they sell for between 10,000 rupiah to 15,000 rupiah (65 cents to 97 cents) each.
– Shame game: Japan names pachinko parlours bucking closure call -Japanese governors are using an old-fashioned weapon in a bid to get the country’s pachinko sports gambling parlours to close during the coronavirus pandemic — naming and shaming.
The country is under a month-long state of emergency and officials have asked non-essential businesses to shut their doors — but Japanese law does not allow the government to force closures.