Japan declares emergency as virus threat spikes

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared a month-long state of emergency in Tokyo and six other areas of the country after a spike in coronavirus cases.“I decided that a situation feared to gravely affect people’s lives and the economy has occurred… I am declaring a state of emergency,” Abe said.The order will empower the local governments to enforce curbs on businesses and the movement of people to contain the spread of the virus. Besides Tokyo, the measure will be implemented in Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Osaka, Hyogo, and Fukuoka.

The announcement comes after these areas witnessed a spike in COVID-19 infections over the past few days, with Tokyo alone reporting over 140 cases in a single day on April 5, further escalating the crisis, which till then had been relatively on a lower side of the threat level.The health facilities in Tokyo are bracing for a patient rush over the next few days and have warned of a chaotic situation if the preventive restrictions were delayed.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has asked the residents to cooperate with the government measures. “It may cause inconvenience in daily life, but I call for everyone’s cooperation because lives are at stake,” she told reporters.On April 6, Abe had unveiled a stimulus package worth around $1 trillion to prevent a looming slide in the economy.Japan has reported over 1000 COVID-19 cases so far, and the health services fear a rapid increase in the numbers in view of the potential of the virus’ quick transmission observed in other countries.

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