Inmates in a Sri Lanka prison scuffled with guards and some tried to escape during a protest against new strict measures to control the spread of the coronavirus, leaving two dead and six wounded, police said Sunday.
Tensions erupted Saturday at the Anuradhapura prison when guards tried to control the riot. In the commotion, guards opened fire to prevent inmates from fleeing, police said.
Anuradhapura is about 200 kilometers (120 miles) north of Colombo.
Prisoners were complaining about the decision by the authorities not to allow visitors as a move to contain the virus.
Sri Lanka has imposed a three-day countrywide curfew since Friday as the number of cases has risen to 77.
On Sunday, a police statement said two inmates died and six others were being treated at a hospital.
Police said no inmates escaped and security at the prison has been strengthened with additional police teams, including commandos.
Senaka Perera, president of the Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners, said the inmates were protesting congested conditions and the poor quality of meals after the government banned visitors for two weeks to prevent the spread of the virus. Visitors often bring home-cooked food.
Sri Lanka's prisons are overcrowded, sometimes housing 5,000 inmates in a facility capable of holding 800, according to the pressure group.
Japan's health ministry and local governments said Sunday the number of COVID-19 infections nationwide had risen to 1,055 cases as of 10:30 a.m. local time, an increase of 40 cases from a day earlier.
The death toll in Japan from the pneumonia-causing virus currently stands at 45, according to the health ministry, with the figure including those from the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama, close to Tokyo.
Of the 1,055 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the majority are in Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, which has confirmed 159 cases, followed by Aichi Prefecture with 141 confirmed cases, Tokyo has 136, Osaka 125, Hyogo 107 and Kanagawa Prefecture has confirmed 72 COVID-19 infections, according to the latest statistics from health ministry and local authorities.
The health ministry said there are currently a total of 61 patients considered severely ill and are on ventilators to receive respiratory assistance or have been admitted to intensive care units for medical treatment.
The ministry said, meanwhile, that a total of 766 people have been discharged from hospitals after their symptoms improved.
The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 275,000 people and killed more than 11,300. The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems. More than 88,200 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.
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South Korea's prime minister has "strongly recommended" the country's religious facilities, gyms and clubs to close for the next 15 days to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Chung Se-kyun during a nationally televised speech on Saturday said the government plans to use administrative orders to shut down the facilities that remain open but fail to enforce distance between people.
He says the government could also file damage claims against the churches and businesses if they become linked to infections after failing to employ preventive measures.
The Gyeonggi province surrounding capital Seoul has already taken similar steps, issuing administrative orders that required around 140 churches and 15,000 karaokes, computer gaming rooms and clubs to strengthen anti-virus measures.
Gyeonggi governor Lee Jae-myung has said these facilities will be shut down and possibly fined as much as $2,400 if they fail to abide the order, which requires them to ensure that everyone wears masks, sanitizes their hands and maintains distance. They were also ordered to block anyone exhibiting fever or respiratory symptoms and keep a record of visitors' names, contact points and when they came.
While South Korea's epidemic has slowed from earlier this month when it was reporting hundreds of new cases a day, there are growing concerns about a steady rise in infections in the Seoul metropolitan area, where about half of South Korea's 51 million people live. Seoul, Gyeonggi province and Incheon have so far reported 675 cases combined.
Four men sentenced to death for the gruesome gang rape and murder of a woman on a New Delhi bus in 2012 were hanged Friday, concluding a case that exposed the scope of sexual violence against women in India and prompted horrified Indians to demand swift justice.
The men were hanged at Tihar Jail in New Delhi, Press Trust of India reported, quoting jail authorities.
The victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, was heading home with a male friend from a movie theater when six men tricked them onto a private bus. With no one else in sight, they beat her friend and repeatedly raped the woman. They penetrated her with a metal rod, causing fatal internal injuries. They dumped both victims on the roadside, and the woman died two weeks later.
The case drew international attention and prompted Indian lawmakers to stiffen penalties for rape, part of a wave of changes as India confronted its appalling treatment of women.
Facing public protests and political pressure after the attack, the government reformed some of India's antiquated laws on sexual violence and created fast-track courts for handling rape trials that formerly could last more than a decade.
Asha Devi, the mother of the victim, thanked the judiciary and government after the convicts were hanged.
"Today, we got justice and this day is dedicated to the daughters of the country," she told reporters. "I could not protect her but I was able to fight for her."
Devi said she hoped that courts in India will end delays in rape cases and punish convicts within a year's time.
Hundreds of police were deployed outside the jail to control a crowd that waited to celebrate the executions. Dozens of activists and commoners held placards hailing the hangings outside the jail premises. The crowd chanted slogans like "Justice for women" in favor of the hangings and cheered by clapping and blowing whistles.
The assailants had stood trial relatively quickly in India's slow-moving justice system. Four defendants were found guilty and sentenced to death in 2013 and India's top court upheld the decisions in 2017.
Another suspect had hanged himself in prison before his trial began, though his family insists he was killed. The sixth assailant was a minor at the time of the attack and served three years in juvenile detention.
The executions were carried out as two recent attacks renew attention to the problem of sexual violence in India.
A couple and their 2-year-old daughter, who had recently returned from Italy, were tested for coronavirus on Wednesday, prompting the Rajasthan government to impose gathering restrictions under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in the entire state, reports NDTV.
The patients belong to Rajasthan's Jhunjhunu and had returned from Italy on March 8. The Rajasthan government also imposed a curfew within 1 km of their residence.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot after holding a review meeting directed the imposition of restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus infection.
The chief minister has also directed the government and private schools to stop parent-teacher meetings and the admission processes till March 31.
Earlier, the patients' samples were sent to Jaipur's Sawai Man Singh Hospital for testing. Rajasthan Health Minister Dr Raghu Sharma said they are being brought to Jaipur for treatment. He said all those people who came in their contact will be screened.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot directed officials that people should be advised through loudspeakers at religious places and public places to avoid gatherings.
He has also directed the shutting down of public and government libraries. The chief minister told officials to develop testing facilities at Ajmer, Kota, Bharatpur and Jhunjhunu besides doubling the testing capacity in Jaipur.
The chief minister asked officials to talk to the Ministry of External Affairs about the safety of the Rajasthan residents stranded abroad.
He directed full screening of passengers arriving by air from abroad near the airport. Three hotels have been identified for this purpose.
Mr Gehlot said there will be no shortage of resources in the state to deal with the situation. Isolation and other facilities should be developed through the State Disaster Response Fund at the district-level, he said.