Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the measures will be announced in detail Tuesday and will include increased social distancing but stop short of hard lockdowns of the kind in place in Europe.

Japan’s Health Ministry and local governments said on Tuesday that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country rose by 53 to 7,744.

The latest figure is coming one week after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency over the crisis for Tokyo and six other prefectures.

The death toll from the pneumonia-causing virus currently stands at a total of 158, including those from a cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama near Tokyo.

Last Tuesday, Japan declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus in a bid to better empower prefectures to take measures to curb its spread.

The prefectures under the declaration are Tokyo, Osaka, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures.

But other prefectures’ governors have asked to be added to the list.

Other prefectures, meanwhile, have issued their own state of emergency independent of the central government, asking their residents to take various measures in a bid to prevent the virus’ spread.

In Tokyo, the epicentre of Japan’s outbreak, Japanese “izakaya” pubs have been requested to close their doors at 8.00 p.m. (local time) and restaurants asked to stop serving alcohol by 7.00 p.m. to dissuade people from gathering in groups in confined spaces.


Places in the capital where people typically gather in large groups have been asked to suspend their business activities.

These include live music venues, night clubs, internet cafes, pachinko parlours, sports clubs, game centres and cinemas.

Essential services like medical institutions, supermarkets, convenience stores, hotels, public transport providers and financial services among others are operating as usual, with the proviso that they take measures to curb the spread of the virus.

While Tokyo has confirmed well over one-third of all COVID-19 cases across the nation with a total of 2,158 cases, Osaka Prefecture, as of Tuesday, had recorded 835 cases, followed by Kanagawa Prefecture with 561.

Chiba Prefecture has 486 COVID-19 cases, while Saitama Prefecture has recorded 430 cases of the virus, the latest figures showed.

Hyogo Prefecture, meanwhile, has 397 cases and Fukuoka Prefecture has recorded 374 cases.

The Health Ministry also said there are currently a total of 141 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 added that in total, 1,443 people have been discharged from hospitals after their symptoms improved, according to the latest figures.

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