Asia virus latest: Japan lifts emergency; China hits back at US

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Mt Desk – Here are the latest developments from Asia related to the novel coronavirus pandemic: – Japan lifts emergency for most regions – Japan’s prime minister lifted a state of emergency imposed due to the coronavirus for the majority of the country but kept it in place for top cities Tokyo and Osaka. After fears the virus could explode in Japan, new infections have come down sharply, enabling the government to end the measure in 39 out of 47 prefectures before it was due to expire on May 31. – China rejects US claims of attempted vaccine theft – Beijing accused the United States of smearing China after Washington alleged Chinese hackers were attempting to steal research on developing a
vaccine against the coronavirus.

The claims have added fuel to tensions between the global superpowers, who
have traded barbs over the origin of the pandemic. – Crewcuts and catch-ups as New Zealand lockdown ends – New Zealanders mingled with friends and hit the shopping malls for the first time in seven weeks as a national lockdown ended and businesses faced a
“new normal” minimising the constant threat of coronavirus.

A long-awaited haircut was the top priority for many Kiwis after almost two
months in isolation, with queues of tangle-headed customers forming at
barbers before dawn. – Nearly 600,000 Australians lose jobs as lockdown bites – Almost 600,000 Australians lost their jobs as the virus shutdown took hold in April, the steepest monthly drop since records began more than 40 years ago.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said 100,000 people filed for
unemployment benefits, while a further 500,000 left the workforce altogether.

– Thousands cram into Indonesian airport terminal – Thousands crammed into
a terminal at Jakarta’s main airport, breaking social distancing rules after
the Indonesian government lifted a ban on air travel imposed to fight the
spread of the virus.

Images of the scene went viral online, prompting airport officials to
intervene and separate baggage-laden travellers. The flight ban was relaxed
last week, earlier than originally anticipated, even as the number of cases
continues to rise sharply in Indonesia.

– Maldives extends lockdown as cases rise –

The Maldives extended its lockdown for another two weeks as the former
tourist hotspot reported its fourth coronavirus fatality and the pandemic
spread rapidly in the congested capital Male.

– Stocks sink after Fed chief issues warning –

Asian equities sank following another sell-off in New York after the head
of the Federal Reserve warned of “lasting damage” to the economy from
shutdowns caused by the coronavirus, compounding worries about a second wave
of infections.

– Pro golf resumes in South Korea –

Birdsong and the rattle of the ball dropping into the cup — accompanied by
camera shutters — were the only sounds to be heard as professional women’s
golf entered the post-coronavirus era on a closed South Korean course.

Spectators were barred from the Lakewood Country Club as the KLPGA
Championship got under way in Yangju, northeast of Seoul, with a host of
social distancing measures in place to guard against infection.

– Aussie soap Neighbours promises sparks despite virus –

Sparks will continue to fly on Australian soap opera Neighbours even though
the stars must keep their distance, the show’s creators promised after
production resumed following a virus hiatus.

The long-running Melbourne-based drama — which launched the careers of
several stars including Kylie Minogue — is one of the first shows to press
ahead with filming under strict social distancing rules as the television
industry adapts to new norms.

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