Here are the latest developments from Asia related to the coronavirus pandemic:

Japan dived into its first recession since 2015, according to official data, with the world's third-largest economy shrinking by 0.9 percent in the first quarter as it wrestles with the fallout from the coronavirus.

The drop in gross domestic product followed a 1.9 percent decline in the fourth quarter of 2019 as a tax hike and typhoons hit Japan hard -- even before the pandemic shut down much of the economy.

One of South Korea's top football clubs apologised for causing "deep concern" after being accused of using sex dolls to fill empty seats at a weekend game.

FC Seoul insisted the mannequins -- used in the absence of fans, who are banned because of the coronavirus -- had "no connection to sex toys".

But some of the artificial spectators, deployed for Sunday's game against Gwangju FC, wore T-shirts with the logo of SoloS, a sex toy seller.

Taiwan said its exclusion from the World Health Organization will not be raised at the global health body's annual policy meeting this week because allies want to focus on the fight against the coronavirus.

Taiwan has had remarkable success in combatting the pandemic with only seven deaths and some 400 infections.

But it is frozen out of the WHO by Beijing which regards the self-ruled democratic island of 23 million people as its own territory and has vowed to take it by force if necessary.

Hundreds of thousands of New Zealand children returned to school after two months of home education as part of a COVID-19 lockdown.

Japan dived into its first recession since 2015 as the world's third-largest economy wrestled with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic
Japan dived into its first recession since 2015 as the world's third-largest economy wrestled with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic AFP / Kazuhiro NOGI

Excited youngsters greeted classmates for the first time in eight weeks, while teachers reinforced messages about social distancing and hand-washing to combat the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's success containing coronavirus has driven an extraordinary popularity surge that has put the youthful leader on course for a landslide win in September's national election.

Ardern's centre-left Labour Party was up 14 points at 56.5 percent, a Newshub-Reid Research poll published Monday found, with her rating as preferred prime minister surging 20.8 points to 59.5 percent.

Thailand's economy shrank for the first time in six years because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has shuttered borders and devastated the tourism-reliant country.

Some 40 million tourists were expected to arrive in Thailand this year, drawn to its sandy beaches, infamous nightlife and street food culture.

Wallabies forward Izack Rodda and two Queensland Reds teammates who refused to take a pay cut negotiated during the coronavirus shutdown were suspended as the team resumed training.

The 21-cap Australia Test second row Rodda, Isaac Lucas and Harry Hockings rejected a deal that sees the country's professional rugby union players take a 60 percent pay cut over six months to help the game avoid insolvency.

Struggling Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group reported record losses, as the coronavirus pandemic compounded woes caused by its investment in troubled office-sharing start-up WeWork.

The telecom and investment giant had already sounded the alarm, warning last month that the "deteriorating market environment" would hit its bottom line.

Asian markets rose as a further easing of lockdowns around the world offset another round of data highlighting the sharp economic pain being inflicted by the virus.

Traders also looked past a warning from the head of the Federal Reserve that a full recovery would likely not come until next year, warning that a vaccine would be needed to get things back to normal.