Here are the latest developments in Asia related to the coronavirus pandemic:
– China mourns virus victims –
China came to a standstill to mourn the patients and medical staff who died because of the coronavirus outbreak, with the country observing a nationwide three-minute silence.
At 10 am Saturday, Citizens paused as cars, trains and ships sounded their horns, and air-raid sirens rang out in memory of the more than 3,000 lives lost to the virus in mainland China.
In Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the national flag flew at half-mast, and state media showed President Xi Jinping and other officials standing outside a government compound wearing white flowers.
– S. Korea extends social distancing campaign –
South Korea has expanded a social distancing campaign by another two weeks to April 19 to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
More than 10,000 cases have been reported in South Korea. At one point, it had the second-worst outbreak of COVID-19 after mainland China but it has brought it largely under control.
However the government has said it needs to maintain social distancing measures to avoid another spike in infections.
“We have no choice but to continue an intense social distancing campaign for some time,” Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said.
– Sri Lanka cuts rates again –
Sri Lanka’s central bank has cut key interest rates for a third time this year after banning non-essential imports and appealing for a moratorium on its foreign debt repayments.
The island nation’s economy has been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic, and the country is under an indefinite curfew to try and curb the spread of COVID-19.
The latest rate cut came two weeks after the central bank ordered commercial banks to stop financing the import of vehicles and non-essential luxury goods to ease pressure on the currency.