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AFP
April 11, 2020

Jakarta tightens curbs, Singapore teachers drop Zoom

World

AFP
April 11, 2020

SINGAPORE: Soldiers and police hit the streets of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta to enforce its toughest social distancing rules yet as coronavirus infections surge and critics warn of a looming public-health disaster.

Violators face heavy fines and up to a year in jail for breaking the new rules, which include a ban on gatherings of more than five people, limiting restaurants to online delivery orders and reducing public transport.

Singapore’s teachers have stopped using controversial video-conferencing app Zoom for remote education during the city-state’s coronavirus lockdown, officials said, after intruders reportedly made lewd comments in a virtual class.

During a geography lesson involving teenage girls conducted via Zoom, two men intruded into the livestream, showed obscene images and making lewd remarks, Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper reported.

Malaysia will extend tough restrictions aimed at fighting the spread of the virus until April 28, the prime minister said. The lockdown had originally been due to end on April 14.

Under the curbs, schools and all businesses deemed non-essential have closed and people are being told to stay home, while Malaysians are barred from travelling overseas and foreigners are banned from entering.

Kyoto became the latest prefecture to ask to be placed under a state of emergency announced by the central government earlier this week, with the governor saying that infections were rising.

The state of emergency currently covers seven regions, including Tokyo, and gives authorities the power to ask people to stay indoors and request that businesses close, but there are no enforcement mechanisms and no penalties for those who fail to comply. The governor of Aichi prefecture had earlier called on the central government to include his region in the state of emergency.

More than 450 South Koreans quarantined at special facilities for coronavirus patients started casting their ballots in early voting for next week’s general election.

Seoul authorities set up polling stations at eight quarantine facilities nationwide -- provided for patients with mild symptoms -- so they can vote without having to leave the premises.

At one such facility in the southern city of Gyeongju, patients queued to cast their ballots, spaced at least one metre (three feet) apart and wearing protective masks and disposable plastic coats.

A government minister in the Australian state hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic resigned after being fined for breaking travel restrictions.

New South Wales arts minister Don Harwin announced his resignation after he was fined for travelling to his holiday home on the state’s central coast.

Bangladesh banned people from leaving their homes after 6:00 pm (1200 GMT) as the country of 168 million people extended a nationwide shutdown until April 25.

The order came after Bangladesh saw a doubling in the number of virus cases over the past two days to 424, with six new fatalities taking the death toll in the South Asian country to 27.

Japan’s sumo association confirmed its first coronavirus case, in a new blow for the ancient sport, which has already been forced to move one tournament behind closed doors and postpone others.

One low-ranking wrestler who had a fever last week has tested positive for the virus, the association said, declining to name the man or give details.