Asia-Pacific nations locking down

Thailand's government has declared a nationwide state of emergency. It comes as the number of coronavirus cases has spiked in recent days. The measure urges people not to travel between provinces and will remain in place until April 30.

Checkpoints have been set up along major roads between Bangkok and neighboring provinces. The police are not stopping every vehicle, but they are advising bus drivers to refuse passengers without face masks and to maintain a safe distance between riders.

A bus driver said, "I think it's good to do this because it ensures the health and safety of our passengers, as well as ourselves."

On top of travel restrictions, people under the age of five and over 70 are urged to refrain from going outside.
Thailand reported more than 100 new cases on Thursday for a fifth straight day, bringing the total number of infections to 1,045.

New Zealand joined the list of countries beginning nationwide lockdowns. The streets there were deserted as the authorities warned people to stay at home if they didn't have a valid reason to be out. Only those engaged in essential services are allowed to go out for work. Offices, schools and restaurants are closed.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters, "On Monday, we said we needed to shut New Zealand down. Here we are on Thursday, with our streets essentially empty. That is a remarkable feat and I want to thank the nation for that."

India is entering its second day of lockdown for all 1.3 billion of its people on Thursday. Thousands of trucks are stranded across the country as drivers struggle to find food. Air and train travel has been suspended, along with long-distance bus journeys.

The government announced an economic relief package worth more than 22 billion dollars on Thursday. 800 million people will each receive five kilograms of rice or wheat and one kilo of beans each month for three months.

Authorities say social distancing is the only way to contain the spread of the virus. People shopping for daily necessities could be seen standing in circles painted on the ground to maintain a certain distance between each other.

After the announcement of the total lockdown, many Indians rushed to stores to buy staples. Officials say the government is taking measures to ensure a supply of essential goods. They said they are trying to make food and medicine available through delivery to reduce the movement of people.