Tokyo says no new state of emergency despite spread of infections
TOKYO (JAPAN) – Japan will not reintroduce a state of emergency to tackle coronavirus, a government spokesman said on Friday, even as cases in Tokyo rose to the highest in two months. The increase can be traced to the spread of the virus through the capital’s night spots.
Tokyo reported 124 new cases on Friday, up from 107 the day before, partially due to nightlife workers’ increased testing in the Shinjuku and Ikebukuro districts.
That said, despite the spike, the number of serious cases is hinting at a decline. Hence, there was no need to reinforce the state of emergency that was lifted on May 25, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
Japan’s rates of infection remain far below when compared to many other countries but the increase in the number of cases and the chances of renewed restrictions have put the authorities and businesses in a tense situation.
Governor Yuriko Koike said Tokyo is on amber alert – the third most severe in a four rank scale. With its medical facilities ranked at the lesser yellow level, it is an indicator there is no immediate risk of being overwhelmed.
“We will prevent the spread of infection while maintaining daily life,” said Koike, Tokyo governor. She is Tokyo’s first female governor, expected to win a second term comfortably in an election on Sunday after a campaign dominated by the coronavirus.
Preventive measures have already landed Japan’s economy into a state of recession in the first quarter. A deeper contraction is expected in the April-June quarter.
The emergency situation had given governors of Japan’s 47 prefectures the legal authority to demand people to stay home and shut down businesses. However, no fines or arrests for not complying to the rules have been reported.
Jiji news agency reported that the government is considering revision of the law to boost enforcement of lockdown requests. It also added that the submission of a bill would be aimed at before or during the ordinary session of parliament next year.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field.