Sth Korean cases rise, Singapore reopening

As coronavirus keeps spreading in densely populated Seoul, South Korea has reported 49 cases

South Korea has reported 49 cases of COVID-19 as the virus continues to spread in the densely populated capital where half of the country's 51 million people live.

Figures released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday brought the national caseload to 12,306 infections, including 280 deaths. It said 26 of the new cases came from capital Seoul and the nearby port city of Incheon. Seventeen of the new cases were linked to international arrivals.

South Korea has been reporting around 30-50 new cases a day since late May, inspiring second guessing on whether officials were too quick to ease social distancing guidelines in April after the country's first wave of infections waned.

Health authorities have been scrambling to stem transmissions in the greater capital area where hundreds of cases have been linked to leisure and religious activities, e-commerce employees and door-to-door salespeople.

India has recorded its highest one-day spike of 13,586 coronavirus cases, raising the total to 380,532, with no signs of flattening of the curve. India's total deaths reached 12,573, a rise of 336, according to a Health Ministry statement on Friday.

Three states, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and New Delhi, account for 60 per cent of cases. The nationwide lockdown imposed in March has been lifted except for high-risk areas. The government has allowed reopening of shops, malls, manufacturing and religious places. However, schools, colleges and movie halls remain shut across the country.

Singaporeans can go to restaurants, work out at the gym and hold social gatherings of not more than five people with the removal of most lockdown restrictions. Singapore has one of Asia's highest infections with 41,473 cases, mostly linked to foreign workers' dorms.

The government says infections in the dorms have declined, with no new large clusters emerging. Cases outside the dorms were also stable despite a partial economic reopening two weeks ago. Malls, gyms, parks and other public facilities reopened on Friday, with strict social distancing and healthy safety rules. Contact sports, trade fairs and mass religious congregations remain banned, and entertainment venues including bars are still shut.

New confirmed cases remain stable in China's capital after a public health official had declared Beijing's latest outbreak under control. Beijing recorded 25 new cases, up by just four from Thursday, out of a total of 32 nationwide.

Bus services between Beijing and other provinces will be suspended from Friday to try to prevent the outbreak's spread. Classes in the city have been suspended and reopening plans for sports and other events are on hold.

Japan and Vietnam have agreed to partially lift travel bans and ease restrictions step by step as a way to reopen economic and exchanges between the two nations where coronavirus infections are largely under control.