Japan to consider emergency declaration | Daily News

Japan to consider emergency declaration

Japan is considering issuing a new emergency declaration to tackle the country’s record surge in COVID-19 cases. The head of Japan’s pandemic response on Saturday said the government needs to consult with health experts before deciding on another declaration.

As an interim measure, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nakamura said restaurants and karaoke parlors in the Tokyo area would be asked to close at 8 PM, businesses serving alcohol - 7 PM.

All this in response to a meeting he held earlier Saturday with the governors of Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures. The governors urged a new state of emergency declaration.

"In the name of valuing life, we made this plea together," said Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike after meeting for three hours on Saturday with the minister in charge of coronavirus measures, along with the governors of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa.

Tokyo raised its COVID-19 alert level to its highest notch on December 17. On Thursday, new infections in the capital rose to a record 1,337 cases, and the country set a record with more than 4500 new cases.

But Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has so far resisted calls to reinstate a national state of emergency.

Tokyo raised its COVID-19 alert level to its highest notch on December 17. On Thursday, new infections in the capital rose to a record 1,337 cases. And the country set a record with more than 4,500 new cases.

But Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has so far resisted calls to reinstate a national state of emergency.

Japan has seen a recent rise in reported cases of COVID-19, especially in urban areas. Worries are growing about hosting the Olympics, set for July, with 11,000 Olympic athletes set to enter Japan, as well as tens of thousands of officials and media.

"Corona knows no calendar," said Koike, referring to her worries about infections being fueled by New Year's celebrations.

"Hospitals are getting packed, affecting medical care for all."

The minister said both sides agreed the situation was critical, but medical experts will be consulted before action is decided.

Japan has never had a lockdown, attempting instead to juggle the need to keep the economy going with health risks. The issued warnings carry no penalties.

The government has also been sending conflicting messages with a campaign to encourage travel with discounts, although that has been discontinued.

(Yahoo, Fox)