Japan to set up coronavirus task force, not planning emergency now

Japan to set up coronavirus task force, not planning emergency now
# 26 March 2020 09:15 (UTC +04:00)

Japan is to set up a coronavirus taskforce, the government said on Thursday, as it warned of a high risk the wide spread of the virus but the economy minister said the government was not thinking of declaring a state of emergency for now, APA reports citing Reuters. 

Japan has had 1,313 domestic cases of coronavirus as of Thursday morning, separate from 712 from a cruise ship that was moored near Tokyo last month, broadcaster NHK reported. There have been 45 domestic deaths and 10 from the cruise ship.

“I told Prime Minister Abe there is a high risk of coronavirus spreading widely,” Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told reporters after a meeting Shinzo Abe and Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura.

Nishimura said Abe told him to “proceed swiftly with setting up the government taskforce” based on Kato’s report.

But the government was not considering declaring a state of emergency at the moment, Nishimura said.

Under a law revised this month to cover the coronavirus, the prime minister can declare a state of emergency if the disease poses a “grave danger” to lives and if its rapid spread threatens serious economic damage. The virus has increased Japan’s recession risk.

A state of emergency would allow governors in hard-hit regions to take steps such as asking people to stay home, closing schools and other public facilities and cancelling large events.

 

Japanese shares tumbled on Thursday following three days of big gains after the rise in domestic coronavirus cases stoked worries of tougher domestic restrictions for social distancing.

Hitachi Ltd instructed 50,000 employees at its group companies in Tokyo to work from home and avoid unnecessary outings for the time being.

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