News Alerts

21 May 2020 | 01:36 PM UTC

Japan: Government lifts state of emergency in multiple Kansai prefectures May 21 /update 26

Japan News Alert

Japanese authorities lift COVID-19 state of emergency in Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo prefectures (Kansai region) on May 21; abide by government directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/21/2020, 12:00 AM until 5/31/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Tokyo). COUNTRY/REGION Japan

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Event

The Japanese government on Thursday, May 21, lifted the state of emergency in the Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo prefectures (Kansai region), amid a drop in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. The prefectures of Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, as well as the island of Hokkaido, will remain under local states of emergency as the number of cases has yet to fall below the government threshold. In the prefectures where the emergency has been lifted, the number of infections was less than 0.5 new cases per 100,000 people. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stated that he believes that the remaining prefectures in Japan will lift their states of emergency prior to their expiry on Sunday, May 31.

The state of emergency in the remaining prefectures does not include a lockdown but gives governments the power to request that residents remain at home unless they are buying food or seeking medical assistance.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike requested on Tuesday, May 5, that nonessential businesses in the city refrain from operating until Sunday, May 31, barring an earlier lifting of the state of emergency. The Tokyo government has said that it will provide financial aid to businesses that remain closed during this period.

The Japanese government previously announced a ban on foreign nationals from multiple countries, which can be found here. Foreign travelers who have been to these territories in the preceding 14 days will be prohibited from entering Japan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also advised its citizens against nonessential travel abroad, particularly to the countries mentioned in the latest measures.

As of May 21, authorities have confirmed 16,385 COVID-19 cases nationwide, including 771 deaths. Further international spread of the virus is likely over the coming weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus. Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures: 

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.

 

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