Japan Might Make Social Distancing Necessary by Declaring Emergency

Japan Might Make Social Distancing Necessary by Declaring Emergency 

Last updated on April 9th, 2020

A survey conducted in Japan by the health ministry and Line Corp. revealed that only 32.8 percent of people in the country are following the social distancing preventive measure against the coronavirus outbreak.

The jointly conducted survey was held for two days straight and covered around 83 million people. Valid answers were recorded from almost 24 million users. The survey revealed that only 5.6 percent of participants are teleworking, to which the ministry suggested that flexile work styles should be introduced.

While the rule of social distancing is being encouraged worldwide to avoid the spread of the disease, Japan seems to be far behind from the world in applying the same.

In the wake of the rising coronavirus cases, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to declare an emergency, which may come into effect from Wednesday. Following a discussion with the advisory board consisting mainly of infectious disease experts, Abe may declare a state of emergency – first of its kind in the country.

It is expected that major cities like Osaka, Tokyo and Hyogo Prefecture may fall under the declaration. Ever since the pandemic began, Abe has been reluctant to shutdown the whole country considering the economic impact of the lockdown. However, seeing a surge in the number of cases that stood at about 4,563 as of Sunday, with 104 deaths recorded, Abe might be forced to change his decision.

On Sunday, 143 new coronavirus cases were reported from Tokyo, bringing the total number of cases in the capital to 1,033.

Once the declaration has been announced, the people of Japan will be forced to follow the practice of social distancing and quarantine. The governors of areas will restrict people from going out of their houses unless it is to do grocery shopping or provide essential services, including health care and transportation.

Considering the increasing number of cases in the country, Japanese medical equipment maker Metran Co. is under immense pressure by the government to mass produce veterinary ventilators to treat the patients of the coronavirus. The company has also been approached by other countries also, including the US and Britain as the number of cases are rising on a daily basis and there is a shortage of ventilators.

Though the company produces human ventilators also, Metran Kazufuku Nitta said that veterinary devices are much more simple and inexpensive. “In a pandemic, there won’t be enough doctors with expert knowledge on site. A simple and a safe machine is needed for doctors who are not familiar with the device,” Nitta said.

Apart from the social distancing policy, the government is also expected to launch a two-phase economic package to help workers and businesses survive during and after the coronavirus pandemic. Abe’s government has proposed an emergency economic package worth ¥60 trillion. While the first phase will save  people and businesses from job losses and bankruptcies, the second phase would inject a financial aid to support a “V-shaped” economic recovery, as per the draft of the plan.

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