As coronavirus cases are rapidly increasing in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly made an appeal to the nation to stay indoors. While addressing the nation, Abe said that the nationwide expansion of the state of emergency was also prompted partly by fear that medical services could fail in rural areas home to many elderly. The Japanese Prime Minister urged people to ‘avoid going out’ and said that ‘everything depends on the action of each individual’.
Abe has been criticised for his response towards coronavirus, hence, he apologised for confusion over a plan to start distributing COVID-19 relief payments next month. With Japan’s Golden Week holidays looming, Abe further also said that the widening of emergency is also aimed to limit travel. Currently, Japan has more than 9,200 confirmed coronavirus cases and the deadly virus has claimed nearly 190 lives in the country.
In a bid to help the households with incomes hit, Abe’s government also announced a payment of 100,000 yen for all citizens. Meanwhile, talking about his decision, Abe reportedly said that the expansion of emergency was aimed at reducing the movement of people and achieving as much as "80 per cent social distancing". Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, on April 7, had declared a month-long state of emergency in the capital and six other prefectures in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19. However, there were no penalties announced on people who defied the rules.
The state of emergency includes a stay-at-home request, guidance to schools on temporary closures and requests to close nonessential businesses and stores and to cancel or postpone events and exhibits. According to reports, violators cannot be penalized unless they fail to comply with orders on providing or storing emergency relief goods, such as surgical masks and medical equipment.
Still, the state of emergency could significantly limit the movement of people around and out of the cities across Japan. This comes as Abe, since days, has been under pressure to declare a state of emergency to get better compliance with calls for social distancing amid a rising number of cases without any known contact with other patients.