Cautious East, wild West: Nations diverge on right way to exit lockdown

SEOUL/HONG KONG/TOKYO — Hanging on a guardrail along a walkway at Yangjae Stream, a large public park in southern Seoul, a massive banner politely asks locals to stay away. Earlier in the spring, the park was closed for weeks as South Korea struggled to rein in what once was the world’s largest outbreak of the novel coronavirus outside of China.

It has since reopened, but visitors must wear masks. Takeout food, groundsheets and tents — mainstays of park outings in South Korea — are banned due to social distancing guidelines meant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Despite South

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Thais make cautious return to malls, adjusting to ‘new normal’

BANGKOK — Thailand on Sunday further eased its coronavirus-related restrictions by reopening shopping malls across the kingdom in an attempt to jump-start consumption, a key driver of the economy.

The move followed its May 3 decision to reopen outdoor markets after closing them for nearly 50 days.

Some eager consumers were seen lining up in front of CentralWorld Sunday morning, but it wasn’t as crowded as expected. Traffic at the notoriously busy Ratchaprasong intersection, where the giant mall is located, was smooth and vehicles were few in the afternoon.

Customers were also allowed to dine at restaurants within such malls

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With world on war footing, cautious Abe declares emergency

TOKYO — On Sunday afternoon, two days before declaring a state of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka and five other prefectures, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe corralled a handful of key officials involved in the coronavirus response.

A larger meeting of the task force had just concluded a short update meeting, and the prime minister asked a few members, including Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura and Health Minister Katsunobu Kato, to stay in the room.

“I want to declare a state of emergency as soon as possible,” Abe told them.

The 65-year-old leader, the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese

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