Singapore, Singapore, Mar 30 – Here are the latest developments in Asia related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:
– Markets resume sell-off –
Asian markets fell following a steep drop on Wall Street as the jubilation from last week’s enormous US stimulus package faded and investors returned their attention to the soaring infection and death rate of the pandemic.
Equities have been hammered as the virus spreads and the global economy heads for recession, but they bounced back for a few days last week as governments worldwide unleashed unprecedented rescue measures.
– Returning Aussies in quarantine –
Thousands of Australians returning from overseas were holed up in hotels for a mandatory 14-day quarantine as the country stepped up measures to slow the spread of the virus.
Some returning travellers have complained about conditions in the five-star hotels, reportedly writing in a private Facebook group that their food deliveries had been rejected and they had not received requested medication.
The government also announced it would spend Aus$130 billion ($80 billion) to supplement workers’ wages over the next six months.
– China slashes rates, pumps $7 bn into market –
China’s central bank cut an interest rate on loans to banks by the largest margin in five years and injected 50 billion yuan ($7 billion) into the financial system to help the world’s second-largest economy weather the impact of the pandemic.
The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) said it launched a 50-billion-yuan reverse repurchase operation and lowered the seven-day reverse repurchase rate.
– Police site crashes as Kiwis turn into shutdown snitches –
New Zealanders have become so keen to report their neighbours for breaking coronavirus lockdown rules that police said a website dedicated to addressing the issue crashed soon after going live.
The South Pacific nation is in the midst of a four-week lockdown, with residents under orders to stay at home or remain at least two metres (6.5 feet) apart if they must go outside.
– Convictions over Hong Kong quarantine rules –
Hong Kong has handed down its first convictions over violations of strict quarantine rules, with three people jailed over the breaches, local media reported.
A homeless man was jailed for three months after falsifying a home address to evade the isolation rules following his arrival from mainland China, while two other people were jailed for six weeks and 10 days respectively, the reports said.
Microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung, a leading expert in the city’s fight against the virus, warned on Monday that the outbreak there has got “slightly out of control”, as confirmed infections increased threefold to 641 in the past two weeks.