03/09/2020, 14.26
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Coronavirus: contagions in South and Southeast Asia

Bangladesh has reported its first three cases, involving people returning from Italy. India has 43 confirmed cases with 400 people in quarantine. A US tourist is positive in Bhutan. Tourism collapses in Sri Lanka. In Indonesia, dioceses are set to enforce hygiene standards.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – The number of countries in the world infected with the coronavirus has risen to 107. Bangladesh is the latest after it reported its first three cases,

In Asia, health authorities have confirmed new cases in India and Indonesia. In Sri Lanka, only one case has been reported so far but attempts are underway to save the country’s tourist industry from collapse.

Yesterday, the Dhaka-based Institute of Epidemiology, Diseases Control and Research (IEDCR) reported the first three cases of infection in Bangladesh: two men and a woman aged 20 to 35.

The three, who recently came back from Italy, “are stable and are being treated in a hospital in isolation,” said IEDCR director Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora.

Warning against any panic, she added that “There is no need to close educational institutions yet”.

In Indonesia, six people have tested positive to the virus, two yesterday.

According to Dr Achmad Yurianto, government spokesperson on coronavirus-related matters, one of the new patients is a 36-year-old man who was on the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship moored for almost a month off the Japanese port city of Yokohama. The other one is a 55-year-old man who contracted the virus in Jakarta. Neither has any fever, nor are they in need of breathing machinery.

Meanwhile, several dioceses in the country have taken steps to stem the contagion: no handshake as a sign of peace during Mass, but regular hand-washing. Holy water fonts have been emptied to prevent the spread of the disease.

Sri Lanka has only one case, but the country’s tourism sector is in full crisis. In February, the number of Chinese tourists fell by 92.5 per cent.

According to the country’s main tour operators, travel and cruise cancellations could reach 30,000 over the next two months.

The quarantine imposed on travellers from Italy, South Korea and Iran could sink a sector already reeling from last Easter’s terror attacks.

In India the number of cases now stands at 43, with new cases confirmed in Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Kerala.

“We request all international passengers to share their details and travel history at the airport. We cannot contain this virus without your help and support," a Health Ministry advisory said.

In Assam, 400 people are in quarantine since they came into contact with a 76-year-old American tourist who tested positive for the Covid-19 test in Bhutan.

Worldwide, the total number of Covid-19 cases topped 109,000, with more than 80,000 in China alone. About 3,816 people have died. After China, the highest numbers of infection are South Korea (7,478) and Italy (7,375).

(Sumon Corraya, Mathias Hariyadi, Melani Manel Perera contributed to this article)

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