Asia Today: Virus arrives in once-clear Marshall Islands

A doctor collects a sample for a coronavirus test from a bsby in Subang on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. Malaysia extended restricted movements in its biggest city Kuala Lumpur, neighboring Selangor state and the administrative capital of Putrajaya from Wednesday in an attempt to curb a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
A doctor collects a sample for a coronavirus test from a bsby in Subang on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. Malaysia extended restricted movements in its biggest city Kuala Lumpur, neighboring Selangor state and the administrative capital of Putrajaya from Wednesday in an attempt to curb a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Credit: Vincent Thian

Credit: Vincent Thian

The Marshall Islands has reported its first cases of the coronavirus after two people who flew from Hawaii to a U.S. military base tested positive

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Marshall Islands has reported its first cases of the coronavirus after two people who flew from Hawaii to a U.S. military base tested positive.

The small Pacific nation had been among the last places in the world to have no reported cases of the virus.

The Office of the Chief Secretary said in a statement that a 35-year-old woman and a 46-year-old man had tested positive this week after flying directly from Honolulu to the base on Kwajalein Atoll.

The office said the two cases weren’t connected, that both people remained in quarantine, and that there was no chance of community transmission.

The office asked people to remain calm and said all businesses and government operations would continue as normal.

Home to about 78,000 people, the Marshall Islands maintains close military and civilian ties with the U.S. under a compact of free association.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

India's confirmed coronavirus toll crossed 8 million with daily cases dipping to the lowest level this week. The Health Ministry reported 49,881 new infections in the past 24 hours. The ministry on Thursday also reported 517 additional deaths, taking total fatalities to 120,527. Life in India is edging back to pre-virus levels with shops, businesses, subway trains and movie theaters reopening. But health experts warn a major Hindu festival season and the approach of winter could lead to more localized outbreaks.

— Long lines formed at supermarkets and pharmacies in Sri Lanka’s capital and surrounding areas after the authorities announced they will impose a three-day curfew amid a virus surge. The curfew will be imposed from midnight Thursday until Monday morning in Western province, the key economic and administrative region of the country. Two new outbreak clusters emerged early this month, centered around a garment factory and fish market. By Thursday, infections traced to the two clusters had reached 5,730 — more than half of the cases the country has seen since the pandemic began.

— Officials in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang believe they have contained the country’s latest coronavirus outbreak. All 23 newly active cases there were people who previously had tested positive but had not yet developed symptoms, according to the National Health Commission. Thursday was the second straight day with testing not showing a spread of the virus. The development appears to show that new infections have been curbed, said Wang Xijiang, deputy director of the center for disease prevention and control in Xinjiang’s Kashgar prefecture. More than 4.7 million people in Kashgar have been tested.

Australia has sought to prevent new coronavirus cases from reaching its shores by banning most of its residents from leaving in the first place. The ban creates a heartbreaking burden on its multicultural population, around half of whom were born overseas or have an immigrant parent. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has held up Australia's travel ban as an example to the world of how to avoid severe subsequent coronavirus waves spread by citizens who are infected while traveling on vacation. But with Australia becoming one of the most successful countries in containing the spread of the virus, some are questioning how long the ban can be justified.

Taiwan has hit 200 days without any domestically transmitted cases of COVID-19, highlighting the island's continued success at keeping the virus under control even as cases surge in other parts of the world. Taiwan's Center for Disease Control last reported a domestic case on April 12. CDC officials noted Thursday's milestone and thanked the public, urging them to continue to wear masks and to wash their hands often. Since the pandemic began, Taiwan has recorded 553 cases of COVID-19, and just seven deaths. While it has stopped domestic transmission, it continues to record new cases in people arriving from abroad.

Health workers leads children for coronavirus testing in Subang, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. Malaysia extended restricted movements in its biggest city Kuala Lumpur, neighboring Selangor state and the administrative capital of Putrajaya from Wednesday in an attempt to curb a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Health workers leads children for coronavirus testing in Subang, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. Malaysia extended restricted movements in its biggest city Kuala Lumpur, neighboring Selangor state and the administrative capital of Putrajaya from Wednesday in an attempt to curb a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Credit: Vincent Thian

Credit: Vincent Thian

Children wearing masks to protect themselves against the coronavirus wait inside an ambulance for anti-rabies vaccine shots in Dharmsala, India, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. India’s confirmed coronavirus caseload surpassed 8 million on Thursday with daily infections dipping to the lowest level this week, as concerns grew over a major Hindu festival season and winter setting in. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
Children wearing masks to protect themselves against the coronavirus wait inside an ambulance for anti-rabies vaccine shots in Dharmsala, India, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. India’s confirmed coronavirus caseload surpassed 8 million on Thursday with daily infections dipping to the lowest level this week, as concerns grew over a major Hindu festival season and winter setting in. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)

Credit: Ashwini Bhatia

Credit: Ashwini Bhatia

A health worker arranges swab samples of people to test for COVID-19 at a government hospital in Jammu, India, Thursday, Oct.29, 2020. India's confirmed coronavirus caseload surpassed 8 million on Thursday with daily infections dipping to the lowest level this week, as concerns grew over a major Hindu festival season and winter setting in. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
A health worker arranges swab samples of people to test for COVID-19 at a government hospital in Jammu, India, Thursday, Oct.29, 2020. India's confirmed coronavirus caseload surpassed 8 million on Thursday with daily infections dipping to the lowest level this week, as concerns grew over a major Hindu festival season and winter setting in. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)

Credit: Channi Anand

Credit: Channi Anand

A man wearing protective gear disinfects on a street as a precaution against the coronavirus in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
A man wearing protective gear disinfects on a street as a precaution against the coronavirus in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Credit: Lee Jin-man

Credit: Lee Jin-man

People wear face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus as they walk through a shopping district in Taipei, Taiwan, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
People wear face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus as they walk through a shopping district in Taipei, Taiwan, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

Credit: Chiang Ying-ying

Credit: Chiang Ying-ying

A couple wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus hug each other as they exit a subway station with commuters during the morning rush hour in Beijing, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A couple wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus hug each other as they exit a subway station with commuters during the morning rush hour in Beijing, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Credit: Andy Wong

Credit: Andy Wong

Commuters wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walk out from a subway station during the morning rush hour in Beijing, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Commuters wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walk out from a subway station during the morning rush hour in Beijing, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Credit: Andy Wong

Credit: Andy Wong

A health worker collects a nasal swab sample to test for COVID-19 at a government hospital in Jammu, India, Thursday, Oct.29, 2020. India's confirmed coronavirus caseload surpassed 8 million on Thursday with daily infections dipping to the lowest level this week, as concerns grew over a major Hindu festival season and winter setting in. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
A health worker collects a nasal swab sample to test for COVID-19 at a government hospital in Jammu, India, Thursday, Oct.29, 2020. India's confirmed coronavirus caseload surpassed 8 million on Thursday with daily infections dipping to the lowest level this week, as concerns grew over a major Hindu festival season and winter setting in. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)

Credit: Channi Anand

Credit: Channi Anand

A health worker sanitizes a seat after taking a nasal swab sample at a COVID-19 testing center in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. India's confirmed coronavirus caseload surpassed 8 million on Thursday with daily infections dipping to the lowest level this week, as concerns grew over a major Hindu festival season and winter setting in. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
A health worker sanitizes a seat after taking a nasal swab sample at a COVID-19 testing center in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. India's confirmed coronavirus caseload surpassed 8 million on Thursday with daily infections dipping to the lowest level this week, as concerns grew over a major Hindu festival season and winter setting in. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Credit: Altaf Qadri

Credit: Altaf Qadri

People buy clay idols of Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, ahead of Laxmi Puja festival in Kolkata, India, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. India's confirmed coronavirus caseload surpassed 8 million on Thursday with daily infections dipping to the lowest level this week, as concerns grew over a major Hindu festival season and winter setting in. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
People buy clay idols of Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, ahead of Laxmi Puja festival in Kolkata, India, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. India's confirmed coronavirus caseload surpassed 8 million on Thursday with daily infections dipping to the lowest level this week, as concerns grew over a major Hindu festival season and winter setting in. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

Credit: Bikas Das

Credit: Bikas Das

A man carries a child, both wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus as he shops at a market ahead of Hindu festivals in  Jammu, India, Thursday, Oct.29, 2020. India's confirmed coronavirus caseload surpassed 8 million on Thursday with daily infections dipping to the lowest level this week, as concerns grew over a major Hindu festival season and winter setting in. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
A man carries a child, both wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus as he shops at a market ahead of Hindu festivals in Jammu, India, Thursday, Oct.29, 2020. India's confirmed coronavirus caseload surpassed 8 million on Thursday with daily infections dipping to the lowest level this week, as concerns grew over a major Hindu festival season and winter setting in. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)

Credit: Channi Anand

Credit: Channi Anand

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