Asia virus latest: Trump issues China threat; first case in Rohingya camps

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

  • First case found in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh -

A Rohingya man has become the first person to test positive for COVID-19 in the vast refugee camps in Bangladesh that are home to almost one million people, officials said.

Health experts have long warned that the virus could race through the cramped, sewage-soaked alleys of the camps in the Cox’s Bazar district.

The persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority have been housed there in canvas and bamboo shacks since they fled a military offensive in neigbouring Myanmar more than two years ago.

  • Trump threatens China ties, says in no mood for Xi talks -

US President Donald Trump further hardened his rhetoric towards China, saying he no longer wishes to speak with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and warning he might cut ties over the rival superpower’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tensions have ratcheted up between Washington and Beijing as they trade barbs over the origin of the pandemic that first appeared in late 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and that Trump has dubbed the “Plague from China.”

  • Aussies cautiously return to bars, cafes -

Sydney’s bars and restaurants flung open their doors as a weeks-long lockdown eased, but many remained quiet with only a few cautious patrons returning.

With much of Australia’s largest city still working from home and new coronavirus infections still popping up daily, the city centre remained eerily quiet on a rainy Friday morning – even as baristas, waiters and barmaids returned to work.

  • Typhoon forces 140,000 from homes in virus-hit Philippines -

Tens of thousands of people crammed into evacuation centres while trying to follow social distance protocols, as a powerful typhoon hammered the Philippines.

Typhoon Vongfong has dumped heavy rains and ripped off roofs since it roared ashore on central Samar island Thursday, with hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people in its path on the coast or in flimsy homes.

  • Singapore rolls out swab van as it ramps up tests of foreign workers -

Singapore has rolled out a mobile swab station as it seeks to test the more than 300,000 foreign workers living in dormitories in the city-state.

The specially-equipped ambulance can be swiftly deployed and allows health care workers to carry out swab tests on people as they stand outside the vehicle.

The city-state has reported over 26,000 infections, one of the highest tallies in Asia, with most cases among low-paid migrant workers living in crowded dorms.

  • Japan to conduct antibody tests -

Japan’s health minister said the nation will conduct antibody testing from next month for about 10,000 people.

The test results should help experts better understand the extent of the coronavirus’s spread in Japan, with local media reporting it may also shed light on whether “herd immunity” can be achieved.