Asia virus latest: Japan business outlook sour, Aussie papers stop printing

Asia virus latest: Japan business outlook sour, Aussie papers stop printing

A volunteer sprays disinfectant in Shwedagon Pagoda compound as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Yangon, Myanmar.
A volunteer sprays disinfectant in Shwedagon Pagoda compound as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Yangon, Myanmar.

SINGAPORE: Here are the latest developments in Asia related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

- Japan business sentiment negative -

Confidence among Japan's biggest manufacturers has plunged into negative territory for the first time in seven years, a key survey showed, as the coronavirus pandemic hits demand and disrupts production.

The Bank of Japan's March Tankan business survey -- a quarterly poll of about 10,000 companies -- showed a reading of minus eight among major manufacturers, the first negative reading since March 2013.

- China lockdown may have blocked 700,000 virus cases -

China's decision to lock down the city of Wuhan, ground zero for the global COVID-19 pandemic, may have prevented more than 700,000 new cases by delaying the spread of the virus, researchers said.

Drastic control measures in the first 50 days of the epidemic bought other Chinese cities valuable time to prepare and install their own restrictions, according to the paper by researchers in China, the United States and Britain, published in the journal Science.

- Taiwan to donate masks to hard-hit countries -

Taiwan -- which has been praised for its handling of the outbreak -- will donate 10 million surgical masks and other supplies to medical workers in countries hit hard by the virus, President Tsai Ing-wen said.

China has also sent countries medical aid, as it seeks to deflect criticism over its initial missteps in handling the viral outbreak after it emerged there late last year.

China's communist leadership claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to seize the self-ruled island, by force if necessary.

- Aussie papers stop printing -

Rupert Murdoch's Australian flagship media group News Corp announced it will stop printing around 60 regional newspapers, as the troubled sector suffered a fresh blow from a COVID-19 advertising downturn.

News Corp said papers in the states of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia would cease printing and move online.

- Markets mostly fall -

Asian markets mostly fell following a sell-off on Wall Street, while investors weighed the prospect of countries extending lockdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

- Beijing 2022 Olympics face 'special situation' after Tokyo delay -

Beijing 2022 organisers said they face "a special situation" with the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics leaving less than six months between the Summer and Winter Games.

The Tokyo Olympics are now scheduled to run from July 23 to August 8, 2021 after they were put back a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, while the Beijing Winter Games begin on Feb 4, 2022.

- Down Under driving drama -

A Sydney man allegedly caught driving a Lamborghini at nearly twice the speed limit claimed he was rushing to a Covid-19 testing clinic, police said.

The 35-year-old was fined for speeding and had his licence suspended.

Meanwhile, a Tasmanian man who allegedly lied to police about having coronavirus after being pulled over in his car has been slapped with a barrage of charges.


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