COVID-19 infections rise to 8,910 cases as Japan prepares to declare nationwide state of emergency


COVID-19 cases in Japan increased by 188 nationwide, including 149 new infections in Tokyo, health ministry and local authorities said Thursday afternoon, bringing the national total to 8,910.

As the number and pace of cases continue to increase, Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe has decided to expand the state of emergency over the COVID-19 from just seven of Japan’s 47 prefectures, to a nationwide emergency, NHK reported.

The death toll from the pneumonia-causing virus now stands at a total of 194, including those from a cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama near Tokyo, the latest figures showed.

In Tokyo, the epicenter of Japan’s outbreak, a total of 2,595 infections have been confirmed, accounting for well over one-third of all COVID-19 cases across the nation, followed by Osaka Prefecture where cases stand at 968 infections.

Kanagawa Prefecture, meanwhile, has recorded 622 infections, Chiba Prefecture 537 cases, Saitama Prefecture 513 infections, Hyogo Prefecture 443 cases and Fukuoka Prefecture has recorded 436 cases of COVID-19, according to the latest figures Thursday afternoon.

The health ministry here also said there are currently a total of 173 patients considered severely ill and are on ventilators to receive respiratory assistance or have been admitted to intensive care units for medical treatment.

The ministry also said that in total, 1,546 people have been discharged from hospitals after their symptoms improved, according to the latest figures.

On April 7, Japan declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus crisis for just seven of the nation’s 47 prefectures.

The prefectures covered by the declaration at the time were Tokyo, Osaka, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures.

The declaration better empowered those prefectures’ governors to take enhanced measures to curb the spread of the virus.

But other prefectures’ governors had vehemently been calling to be added to the list, as the virus continued to spread elsewhere in the country.

Some prefectures, meanwhile, took matters into their own hands and issued their own state of emergency independent of the central government.

As with those under the emergency declaration, they have also asked their residents to take various precautionary measures, such as working from home, avoiding crowded areas and reducing social contact by up to 80 percent, in a bid to prevent the virus’ spread.

A nationwide state of emergency being issued would ensure that prefectural governors, across-the board, would be better enabled to authorize measures to curb the spread of the virus. Enditem

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