Japan’s government set out on Monday to prolong the country’s state of emergency by the end of May as it heads to a protracted battle against the coronavirus epidemic.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a month-long state of emergency for Tokyo and six other regions on 7 April, later expanding it to cover the entire country.
It is scheduled to end on Wednesday, but Abe is expected to announce an extension by May 31 after consulting with infectious disease specialists.
He is to explain the government’s decision at a press conference later on Monday.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said that he had asked Abe’s minister to elaborate on the government’s plan for Yasutoshi Nishimura responsible for the outbreak of the virus.
“The minister told me they were putting it together for an extension to May 31,” Koike said in a video message to residents late Sunday.
As experts met on Monday, Nishimura warned that the fight against the virus was over.
“Preparing for the fact that it will take a long time to deal with this infectious disease, I would like to propose to you concrete examples of a new way of life that enables people to prevent infection while maintaining social and economic activities. Will, ”told the gathering of experts.
The state of Japan’s emergency is significantly less restrictive than the measures seen in Europe and parts of the United States. It allows governors to call on people to stay home and businesses to remain closed.
But officials cannot force citizens to comply, and there is no penalty for those who do so.
Local reports said the government wanted to urge residents in 13 high-risk areas, including Japan’s largest cities, to cut person-to-person contact by up to 80 percent, and other strict social distance rules. Use it.
But museums, libraries, and some other facilities may be allowed to reopen until they take anti-virus measures.
For the rest of Japan, the prefecture would be allowed to ban commercial closures and small celebrations, but residents would be asked not to travel outside their home areas. Bars and nightclubs will be asked to remain closed.
Japan has reported relatively small-scale outbreaks, with more than 15,000 infections and 510 deaths so far.
But there have been constant fears about a spike in infections that could affect the country’s health system quickly.
Doctors’ unions have warned that hospitals are already thin, with officials in Osaka also calling for donations of raincoats, which serve as protective equipment for stranded health workers using trash cans.
Measures have been implemented to try to reduce the pressure, including sending coronavirus patients to quarantine hotels rather than placing them in crowded hospitals with mild symptoms. The government has also said that it is increasing testing capacity, but is facing criticism for a relatively small number of tests due to stringent criteria.