COVID-19: Abe declares state of emergency in Japan

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Tokyo [Japan], April 7 (ANI): Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday declared a month-long state of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka, and five other prefectures in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. The local media reported that Japan has so far recorded more than 4,041 cases and 108 deaths. The declaration will come into effect on Wednesday. Specifically, it covers the capital and other major prefectures including Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka, Xinhua news agency reported. The declaration will give prefectural governors more power to take preventative measures to curb the continued spread of the virus, the cases of which have been steadily increasing, particularly in urban areas. According to Al Jazeera, Abe said there would be no European-style lockdowns. The state of emergency will only permit Tokyo's Governor Yuriko Koike and heads of other designated prefectures to do more to reinforce calls for social distancing. Virtually all of those measures will be requests that cannot be enforced with penalties for violations. "As I decided that a situation feared to gravely affect people's lives and the economy has occurred... I am declaring a state of emergency," Abe said. In another step, the Japanese government has finalised its biggest-ever stimulus package worth 108 trillion yen ($990bn) - equal to 20 per cent of economic output - to cushion the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the country's economy. The measures also are expected to include cash payouts to households and small businesses as well as deferred tax payments. (ANI)

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