Due to the country’s worsening coronavirus outbreak, a nationwide state of emergency has been declared in Japan.
The state emergency movement allows regional governments to urge people to stay inside, but without punitive measures or legal force. The state of emergency will remain in force until 6th May.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had previously declared a month-long state of emergency in 7 regions. While speaking at a special meeting of medical experts, Abe said, “Areas, where a state of emergency should be carried out, will be expanded from the 7 prefectures to all prefectures.”
Total cases in Japan are 8,626, out of which total deaths are 178 and total Recovered cases are 901. Active cases are still 7,547, out of which 168 people are in critical condition.
In Japan, as the number of infections has increased, criticism of Abe’s response has grown louder. 75% of people think(1 poll shows) the prime minister took too long to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo.
After a recent increase in cases in the capital Tokyo, experts warned that the city’s emergency medical facilities could collapse under the pressure. People were urged by Officials in Tokyo to work from home.
After the earliest state of emergency came into force on 8th April, a number of other regional governors called for the measures to be extended to their areas, saying that cases were increasing and their medical facilities were affected strongly.
A joint statement was issued by Japan’s 2 emergency medical associations warning that they were “already sensing the collapse of the emergency medical system”.
People were being appealed by the mayor of Osaka to donate their raincoats, so they could be used as PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for health workers whom mayor said were being forced to fashion PPE out of rubbish bags.
How has Japan responded to the outbreak?
Despite recording its 1st case more than 3 months ago, Japan is still only testing a tiny %age of the population.
Not similar, South Korea brought its outbreak almost under control through a program of large-scale testing while the Japanese government said that carrying out widespread testing was a “waste of resources”.
In Japan, the health ministry fears that hospitals could be affected strongly by people who test positive, but only have mild symptoms.
Testing is also conducted by local health centers, not on the national government level – and some of these local centers are not equipped to carry out testing on a major scale.
On 15th April, the Japanese govt’s task force tracking group infections of the new coronavirus stressed the need to reduce human-to-human contact to contain the epidemic, saying 420,000 people could die if preventive measures are not taken.
Due to the coronavirus, Hokkaido became the 1st region in Japan to declare a state of emergency in late February and lifted the state of emergency on 19th March. However, it was re-imposed this week because of the 2nd wave of infections.