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Japan preparing to extend coronavirus emergency for about a month: sources

Kiyoshi Ota/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Japan is preparing to extend its state of emergency over the novel coronavirus, originally set to end on May 6, for about a month, government sources told Reuters on Thursday, even as some other countries begin to reopen after strict lockdowns.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters “it would be difficult to return to every-day life on May 7,” adding that the country needed to “brace for a drawn-out battle.” Abe said he would consult on the scope of the extension with experts. A meeting of infectious disease specialists advising his cabinet was slated to start at 10 a.m. (0100 GMT) on Friday. Abe declared the state of emergency on April 7 for seven prefectures including Tokyo. It gives governors greater power to tell people to stay at home and ask businesses to close, but it does not mandate penalties in most cases for non-compliance, relying instead on social pressure and respect for authority.

With the emergency declaration set to conclude at the end of Golden Week holidays, there remain worrying signs that Japan’s low testing regime has undercounted many coronavirus cases. 30 April 2020

News Source Reuters

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