THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
May 2, 2020 at 17:12 JST
A screen shows about precautions against the new coronavirus at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul on May 2. (AP Photo)
BANGKOK--Singapore will let selected businesses reopen from May 12 in a cautious rollback of a two-month partial lockdown despite rising coronavirus infections among foreign workers.
On Saturday, the city-state reported 447 new cases to take its total to 17,548. About 85% of the confirmed infections are linked to foreign workers living in crowded dormitories.
The Health Ministry said the daily infections among Singaporeans have dropped by more than half to 12 in the past week. Cases with unknown sources of infection have also fallen to an average of six a day.
The ministry said restrictions will be eased cautiously and gradually to avoid a flareup of new infections.
Selected activities such as home-based businesses, food manufacturing, food retail outlets, laundry services, barbers and pet supplies can reopen from May 12. Small groups of students will be allowed back to school from May 19.
A gradual reopening of the economy and work premises will be phased in, with strict health rules including a digital mobile app to speed up contact tracing, the ministry said. Other lockdown measures remain, including confining more than 300,000 migrant workers in their dorms until the lockdown period ends June 1.
In other developments around the Asia-Pacific region:
6 NEW CASES IN SOUTH KOREA: South Korea on Saturday reported six fresh cases of the coronavirus, continuing a monthlong streak of below 100, as infections continue to wane in the hardest-hit city of Daegu. Figures released by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought national figures to 10,780 confirmed cases and 250 virus-related deaths. At least 1,081 cases have been linked to international arrivals, but these have also declined in recent weeks as the government strengthened border controls, such as enforcing 14-day quarantines on all overseas passengers. Health authorities still raise concern about a broader “quiet spread” and are planning antibody tests to learn how widespread the virus is.
CHINA REPORTS SINGLE INFECTION: China, where the pandemic began in December, reported one new infection and no deaths in the 24 hours through midnight Friday. The country has reported a total of 82,875 confirmed cases and 4,633 deaths. The National Health Commission reported 43 people were released from hospitals Friday after being declared recovered, raising the total to 77,685. There were a total 557 people still hospitalized on the mainland.
ISLAMABAD— Pakistan recorded its highest single day increase in new COVID-19 infections with 1,297 new cases reported to bring the total in the country of 220 million people to 18,114.
The increase also coincides with a a growing number of daily tests being carried out. In the last 24 hours Pakistan conducted more than 9,000 tests, also its largest single day testing as it struggles to climb to a daily testing of 20,000 promised nearly two weeks ago by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Even as the number of new cases increase pictures in local newspapers showed large numbers of the faithful attending some of Pakistan’s mosques with only sporadic signs of the social distancing rules imposed by the government when it refused to shut down mosques during Ramadan, Islam’s fasting month.
Khan’s government has also suggested it might ease lockdown rules governing retail shops ahead of the holiday of Eid-ul Fitr that marks the end of Ramadan, later this month.
Doctors in several parts of the country, however, have pleaded for stricter lockdowns, warning an explosion of infections would overwhelm the country’s struggling health care facilities that count barely 3,000 intensive care beds countrywide
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