The record number of cases of coronavirus raises questions about hospitals being overwhelmed.
The state of emergency in the Tokyo metropolitan area was declared by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga after a record number of coronavirus cases were registered in the capital and across the country.
Suga has been urged to take action by his own health experts as the nation is dealing with a third wave of infections much more serious than previous cases in the pandemic.
The situation has become more and more troubling nationally, and we have a strong sense of crisis,”The situation has become increasingly worrisome nationwide, and we have a strong sense of crisis,” “We fear that the nationwide rapid spread of the coronavirus will have a major impact on people’s lives and the economy.”
A record 2,447 new infections were registered in Tokyo on Thursday, up from 1,591 on Wednesday, while media reports spoke of a national figure of more than 7,000 cases, also an all-time high.
The surge has led to concerns that hospitals in Tokyo will soon be unable to cope with the flood of patients with Covid-19. Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of Japan’s pandemic response, said, “Every day we are seeing a record number of infections. We have a very serious sense of crisis,”
Measures that will be in effect for a month – but could be longer – are less serious than the lockdowns common in other nations, and unlike Japan’s first state of emergency in the spring, it will not be ordered to close schools and non-essential businesses.
In addition, sporting activities will also be permitted to take place, with the upper limit reduced to 5,000 people for spectators or 50 percent of capacity, whichever is lower. It would ask gyms, department stores and entertainment venues to shorten their hours.
An estimated 150,000 bars and restaurants in Tokyo and the three neighboring Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures, which together account for nearly 30% of the country’s 126 million inhabitants, will be asked to stop serving alcohol at 7 p.m. An hour later, and near. After 8pm, people will be asked to make non-essential journeys.
Companies will be asked, according to media reports, to expand telecommuting options to eliminate commuting by 70% .
Some analysts have expressed doubts that, given the pace in which cases have risen in recent days, the steps would work.
Due to his handling of the pandemic, Suga, whose popularity ratings have plummeted, has opposed drastic measures, fearing they could damage the economy as it recovers from the impact of the first state of emergency.
Day-to-day infections in Tokyo could reach 3,500 by February and 7,000 by March without new interventions, according to simulations by Hiroshi Nishiura of Kyoto University.
To carry infections to manageable levels, a state of emergency will have to last at least two months, he said.
However, Dr. Atsuo Hamada, a professor at Tokyo Medical University Hospital, said it is a fair approach to target the nighttime economy. “When people go out to eat at night, they tend to get drunk, talk loudly and sing, so infections spread more quickly through the air,” he said.
Japanese and International Olympic Committee officials have maintained that the global pandemic would not derail plans to open the already postponed 23 July Tokyo Olympics, amid indications that Japan has turned public opinion against the games.
It was only this week that Suga demanded that the Olympics be held as “proof of humanity’s victory over the virus.”
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced on Thursday that the upcoming display of the Olympic torch in the capital was postponed “to reduce the flow of people and further spread of Covid-19.” The torch relay is scheduled to begin on March 25, which will include 10,000 runners.
Japanese authorities lack the legal authority to enact steps to eradicate viruses, but most citizens are likely to obey the advice – one of several reasons that analysts believe has contributed to the success of Japan in holding the number of cases and deaths much lower than in the U.S., U.K. and some other countries.
The government, however, is preparing legislation that would allow local authorities to penalize non-compliant companies. For the moment