Abe: Crisis will peak in two weeks if human contact is reduced Abe: Crisis will peak in two weeks if human contact is reduced

Abe: Crisis will peak in two weeks if human contact is reduced

    NHK World
    Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said in a news conference on Tuesday that the key to reducing infections is for individuals to change their behavior. This came after he declared a state of emergency covering Tokyo and six other prefectures over the coronavirus outbreak. Abe said experts estimate that the number of infections will peak in two weeks if person-to-person contact is reduced by at least 70 percent, or preferably 80 percent.

    Tokyo's reaction

    In response to the declaration, the Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko requested people to strictly refrain from going outside. She also asked businesses and facilities in certain categories to close. However Tokyo and the central government have yet to reach an agreement on specifics. The Metropolitan government says it plans to announce the details on Friday.

    Koike says the capital faces a crisis on a different scale from the other affected prefectures, adding that while she wants to act swiftly, she also needs to take into account the characteristics of the region.

    Countries and regions around the world have declared states of emergency. But details and effects on daily life differ. Here's what a state of emergency could look like in Japan.

    Medical system

    Hospitals in urban areas are approaching capacity, with some facilities running low on beds. In his announcement, Abe said medical workers are facing increasingly large physical and mental burdens.

    He said the government has an agreement with a hotel chain to provide 10,000 rooms in the Kanto region and 3,000 rooms in the Kansai region for treating patients with mild to no symptoms. He added that facilities built to house police officers during the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be repurposed for medical care and will be open by the end of the month to treat about 800 patients with mild symptoms.

    Economic relief measures

    At Tuesday’s news conference, Abe called the outbreak the biggest crisis facing the Japanese economy since the end of World War Two. He said the government will protect people’s jobs and livelihoods by implementing emergency economic measures worth about 108 trillion yen, or one trillion dollars. This is about 20% of the country’s GDP.

    As part of these measures, the government will provide about 300,000 yen, or about 2,800 dollars, to households suffering from a significant decline in income. About 13 million households are expected to be included.

    The government will also provide up to 2 million yen, or 18,000 dollars, to small- and medium-sized companies, as well as individual business owners, whose income in any month this year decreases by more than 50% compared to last year.

    Abe added that if residents adhered to the order, there would be no need for the declaration to be extended beyond one month.

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