- (declare a) state of emergency
- ramp up
- under strain
- social distancing
- comply with ～
- relief goods
- stimulus package
State of Emergency
Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo declared a monthlong state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures on April 7 to ramp up defenses against the spread of the new coronavirus as the number of infections surges.
"We came to the conclusion that, considering that some regional medical systems are under strain, we could not postpone this decision," Abe said at a news conference the same day.
Abe urged everyone to reinforce social distancing and to cut contact with others by 70-80% for one month, calling the coronavirus pandemic Japan's "biggest postwar crisis." He also stressed that the government was not imposing a lockdown.
The announcement follows surges in new cases in Tokyo, including consecutive rises exceeding 100 over the weekend of April 4-5. By April 7 there were 1,196 confirmed cases in the capital. Nationwide, Japan has reported 80 deaths from COVID-19 and 3,906 confirmed cases, plus another 712 cases and 11 fatalities from a cruise ship that was quarantined earlier.
The state of emergency covers Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures in addition to Tokyo, and is set to run until May 6. It includes a stay-at-home request, guidance to schools on temporary closures, and a call to cancel or postpone events and exhibits. It additionally asks nonessential businesses and stores to close, but violators cannot be penalized unless they fail to comply with orders on providing or storing emergency relief goods, such as surgical masks and medical equipment.
Abe's government also announced a record-high 108-trillion-yen stimulus package to help the country to survive the economic downturn and to protect businesses and jobs.
An economist said in a recent report that a state of emergency could cause consumer spending to fall nearly 6.8 trillion yen in Tokyo and the six other prefectures — the equivalent of 1.2% of Japan's annual GDP.
(Compiled from AP and Mainichi reports)
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