COVID-19: Japan declares state of emergency in Tokyo areas as virus surges

Japan has declared a month-long state of emergency in Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan’s leader Shinzo Abe also unveiled a record stimulus package on Thursday as infections, as new daily cases surged to a record of more than 7,000, local media reported.

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Mr. Abe said the recent in COVID-19 cases in Tokyo and other urban areas had forced him to rethink Japan’s approach towards stemming the outbreak.

The government said the emergency would run from Jan. 8 to Feb. 7, 2021 in Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures, covering about 30% of the country’s population. Restrictions would centre on measures to combat transmission in bars and restaurants.

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Mr. Abe asked people to reduce their contact with others by 70-80%, saying successful social distancing could see infections peak in two weeks.

He also called on non-essential workers to work from home and for companies to work out shifts for employees who cannot remotely.

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