Asia Minute: Regional Coronavirus Rules Shifting Again

Sep 24, 2020

As Oahu starts to slowly re-open businesses on the island, many areas around the world are gradually easing some restrictions put in place to guard against the spread of COVID-19. That includes the Asia-Pacific — where it’s already been a week of change.

Wearing a mask is no longer mandatory in New Zealand — except if you’re on public transit or an airplane in Auckland. But that country has been exceptional with its success against COVID-19, and despite suffering a second wave last month, it’s had no new cases for more than a week.

Hong Kong suffered a third wave of new cases in early July, but on Wednesday reported just three new cases. On the same day, more than 300,000 students returned to classrooms in Hong Kong for a half day.

The Education Secretary called the process “mostly smooth.”

Next week, Hong Kong is allowing live performances at entertainment venues — with social distancing and smaller crowds, and in some cases partitions between performers and their audiences.

Schools also re-opened in Seoul this week. Although, new cases of COVID-19 across South Korea rose to more than a hundred Wednesday — after three days of cases in the double-digits.

Singapore reported a dozen new cases Wednesday, and some restrictions will be eased next week.

More workers will be returning to the sprawling glass and steel office buildings in Singapore’s central business district, but within limits. The government says those who can work from home should still do so at least half the time.