Coronavirus: Tokyo imposes restrictions on rise in infections

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Tokyo on Wednesday urged residents to avoid non-essential outings and asked shops serving alcohol to close earlier as the number of coronavirus infections soars in Japan.

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The country has so far been relatively untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic (with just over 2,000 deaths and 135,400 infections, according to official figures) and it has not imposed the containment measures observed elsewhere . But he now faces a record number of daily infections.

“I would like to ask the people of Tokyo to avoid unnecessary outings as much as possible, to prevent an increase in the number of infections,” Governor of the capital Yuriko Koike said at a press conference.

Ms. Koike also called on the population to adopt telework.

None of these calls, however, are binding. Even the state of emergency declared in the spring during the first peak of infections did not punish residents who defied calls to stay at home or establishments that refused to close their doors.

The governor also asked establishments serving alcohol, including karaoke bars, to close their doors at 10 p.m. starting Saturday, for a period of three weeks. Those who do this will be able to benefit from aid.

The Japanese medical association also warned Wednesday that “the health system was in danger of collapsing across the country.” “If the number of infections increases rapidly, we will not have (enough, editor’s note) beds for coronavirus patients and others,” said its president, Toshio Nakagawa.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said last week that Japan was on “high alert” to the coronavirus and his government was forced to back down on a controversial campaign to encourage domestic tourism.

Mr. Suga initially insisted that he would not scale down this so-called “Go To” campaign, but subsequently allowed each region to choose not to participate. The cities of Osaka and Sapporo, which were particularly affected, were thus excluded from the program.

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