Asia virus latest: People return to China epicentre, security talks off

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Trains are now stopping at Wuhan as the city eases travel restrictions after nearly two months of near total isolation

Trains are now stopping at Wuhan as the city eases travel restrictions after nearly two months of near total isolation (AFP Photo/HECTOR RETAMAL)

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

- Wuhan eases travel rules -

Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged last year, partly reopened on Saturday after more than two months of near total isolation for its population of 11 million.

People are now allowed to enter the city but not leave. AFP saw crowds of passengers arriving at Wuhan railway station, most wheeling suitcases alongside them.

The metropolis in Hubei province was placed under lockdown in January with its outskirts ring-fenced by roadblocks and drastic restrictions on daily life.

- Security talks cancelled -

A top Asian security conference that gathers defence ministers -- including from the US and China -- and senior military officials was cancelled due to the pandemic.

The Shangri-La Dialogue, held annually since 2002, had been scheduled for early June in Singapore with more than 40 countries set to participate.

- Indian migrants walk home -

Thousands of migrant workers in India, left jobless and penniless by the full shutdown of the country, are walking long distances back to their home villages after all transport was stopped except for essential services.

Many are also cramming onto buses organised by state governments to get them home.

There were chaotic scenes at the Anand Vihar bus terminal on the Delhi border with Uttar Pradesh on Saturday with queues up to a kilometre long and people fighting over seats.

- Brunei reports first death -

Brunei reported its first coronavirus death on Saturday -- a 64-year-old man who was the country's 25th confirmed COVID-19 case.

The man had travelled to Cambodia and Kuala Lumpur but did not take part in a huge Islamic gathering in the Malaysian capital last month that has been linked to infections across the region, authorities said.

It came as Malaysia, which has recorded more than 2,320 virus cases, received tens of thousands of virus test kits, masks and items of protective clothing from China, and 200 ventilators.

- South Korea recoveries -

More than 50 percent of South Korea's 9,478 confirmed coronavirus cases have now recovered, authorities said Saturday.

The figures are "a small achievement that our entire society can celebrate together", disaster agency official Yoon Tae-ho said.

Once the hardest-hit country outside China, South Korea appears to have brought its outbreak under control. It has tested more than 380,000 people in a process that is free to anyone referred by doctors or those who have links to a confirmed case.

- Super-spreader Indian guru -

At least 15,000 people in northern India who may have caught the coronavirus from a super-spreader guru are under strict quarantine after the Sikh religious leader died of COVID-19.

The 70-year-old guru, Baldev Singh, had returned from a trip to Europe's virus epicentre Italy and Germany when he went preaching in more than a dozen villages in Punjab state.

It has sparked one of India's most serious alerts related to the pandemic and special food deliveries are being made to each household, under even tighter restrictions than the 21-day nationwide stay-at-home order imposed by the government.

- Aussie local election goes ahead -

People in the Australian state of Queensland were urged to vote in local elections or face a fine of Aus$133 ($80), as polls went ahead despite most citizens being encouraged to stay home to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Many of the three million eligible voters had cast their ballot early, or remotely by post or telephone. But long queues were reported outside some booths on Saturday due to limits on the number of people allowed inside at once.

- Police officer tested after alleged spitting -

An Australian police officer is being tested for COVID-19 after a 25-year-old woman arrested in Sydney for speeding allegedly spat and coughed in their face.

The woman claimed she was on her way to be tested for the virus, police said. Although the woman was not showing any symptoms, the officer is now undergoing testing.

It is the latest of several reported incidents of people maliciously coughing towards others as the outbreak spreads.

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