Japan to extend coronavirus state of emergency

Ms Ardern said there were promising signs that the go-hard-and-go-early elimination strategy is working

Ms Ardern said there were promising signs that the go-hard-and-go-early elimination strategy is working

People wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus pass the gates at Yokohama station, near Tokyo, Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

"Areas where a state of emergency should be carried out will be expanded from the seven prefectures to all prefectures", Japanese PM Shinzo Abe said.

In a similar step to one taken in the USA, where coronavirus relief payments are being issued to help Americans through the crisis, Abe also announced that 100,000-yen ($930) cash handouts would be given to all 120 million Japanese citizens.

The measure is to take effect Friday and last until May 6, the end of Japan's Golden Week holidays. Some governors had asked the central government to include their prefectures amid fears of growing infections.

In opening remarks at the meeting, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said the partial state of emergency could not slow the infections effectively because people continued to move in and out of the designated areas.

"It's an urgent task for us to take measures to keep the flow of people to the minimum before the holidays", he said.

Department of Health Confirms Second Coronavirus-Related Death
That home has had nine deaths and 50 coronavirus cases total, according to the new report , the most of any other facility. She tested positive for Covid-19 on April 5 and later admitted to the hospital on April 7.

Japan on Thursday expanded the coronavirus emergency to the whole country covering all prefectures. Companies have been asked to promote a further shift to teleworking to reduce commuters by 70%.

The expansion gave each prefectural governor more power in efforts to curb the epidemic. They gained the authority to expropriate private land and buildings to provide medical care.

They can also requisition medical supplies and food from companies that refuse to sell them and punish those that hoard or do not comply. Hokkaido had lifted its own three-week state of emergency on March 19, only to declare a second state of emergency on Sunday.

The novel coronavirus has spread to 185 countries and regions since emerging in China last December, with the USA and Europe now the hardest-hit areas in the world.

In acquiescing to coalition partner Komeito, Abe has instructed the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to consider reworking the extra budget for fiscal 2020, with an eye to dropping the limited cash handout plan.

The government has declared an emergency in Tokyo and six other areas including Osaka, with more than 9,000 infections nationally and almost 200 deaths, but other regions have asked to be added, amid worries about the persistent spread of the virus.

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