Japan Awaits Second State Of Emergency As COVID-19 Cases Surge

Japan Prepares For State Of Emergency in Tokyo After COVID-19 Cases Surge

Japanese government under pressure to declare a state of emergency as Tokyo succumbs to second highest number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

state of lockdown covid-19 Japan

Japan considers declaring a state of emergency for the Greater Tokyo area as COVID-19 cases continue to surge. On Tuesday, it reported a record number of 1,278 cases. This is the second highest daily total since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with the national daily hitting 4,907 cases. 

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said that a decision whether to impose a second state of emergency would likely come on Thursday. Head of public health experts Shigeru Omi warned that risks of a nationwide and rapid spread of infection could occur if the infection situation in Tokyo and its surrounding regions do not subside. 

Also read: England Prepares for National Lockdown as COVID-19 Cases Skyrocket

Keeping Japan’s economic damage to a minimum 

Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures, which have requested for an emergency declaration, have urged residents to refrain from non-essential, non-urgent outings after 8pm from Friday onwards. In addition, restaurants must be closed by that time. 

However, measures may be less drastic than last year’s state of emergency, which saw schools and non-essential businesses shut down. This is to keep economic damage to a minimum. Moreover, talks of imposing a state of emergency may impact the country’s plans on hosting the 2021 Olympics. 

state of emergency covid-19 Japan

Analysts predict that a second lockdown in and around Japan’s capital could cause the economy to contract in the first quarter of this year. 

State of emergency measures remain unclear

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that “limited, concentrated measures” would be most effective. Despite this, details remain unclear as to whether other public spaces such as sports venues, theatres and cinemas would close. Unlike the first lockdown, the government would not seek to close all schools, leaving the decision to local authorities.

To date, Japan has relied on travel restrictions and voluntary closures to mitigate rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. Nonetheless, many citizens have criticised the government for dragging its feet in managing the raging pandemic in their country. 

Things remain uncertain in this call for a state of emergency in COVID-19 Japan. Let’s hope the announcement on Thursday will prompt the Japanese government to carry out their measures swiftly and lessen further damage. 

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Sarah Jane Lee
Sarah Jane Lee

Sarah strongly believes that much like sunflowers, she draws her energy from basking in the sunshine. She believes that detours, chance encounters and stories shared by strangers at a bus stop are part of what makes adventure beautiful. Apart from being a sports enthusiast (current fix: Muay Thai), Sarah enjoys soaking up the afternoon sun with a book in hand.


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