Panel urges govt. to declare state of emergency

A government panel of coronavirus experts says a state of emergency should be declared in Tokyo and three nearby prefectures as soon as possible.

The advisory panel compiled the proposal after its members considered it on Tuesday before the government will make a final decision about a state of emergency.

The panel says that the infection is taking on aspects that have never been seen before, pointing out that the virus is likely to spread in local areas in addition to the large cities. It also says cluster infections have become multifaceted.

It warns that the virus could spread nationwide unless the infections in the metropolitan areas are brought under control.

The panel says movement of people is not decreasing. It says that healthcare services are under increasingly severe strain and a record number of new cases is registered each day in Tokyo.

It says now is the time to declare a state of emergency to quickly hold down the number of infections in the metropolitan area and reduce the burden on hospitals and public health centers. It also says that the measure is needed to end the infection and help the economy and social functions to recover as early as possible.

The panel also calls for people in the area to refrain from nonessential outings and reduce commuting to work by 70 percent by encouraging remote work.

The panel urges the government to revise a special law to make the anti-infection measures more effective through supporting businesses and establishing penalties.

It also says it is necessary to improve the environment in which the general public can easily continue to practice anti-infection measures.