BANGKOK – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said coronavirus social distancing efforts are still insufficient a day after he expanded a state of emergency to the entire country.
Abe asked Japanese in a speech Friday evening to stay home to save lives as infections surge in the nation's capital. He said the situation in Tokyo is “severe” with a record 201 new coronavirus infections in one day, bringing the capital's total to almost 3,000.
Abe expanded the emergency in a bid to reduce the movement of people during Japan's “golden week” holidays in early May.
He said social interactions had declined 60% in downtown Tokyo and 70% in Osaka, but that fell short of what experts deem necessary to slow the virus's spread to a manageable level.
“The movement of people from cities to countryside will surely trigger a nationwide rampant spread of the virus, which we fear the most,” he said. “I ask you all again, please refrain from going out.”
Nationwide, Japan has about 9,900 cases, including about 700 from a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo, with 160 deaths.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
— WUHAN DEATHS RE-COUNTED: The city where the pandemic began in late December added 1,290 deaths to its toll. Wuhan officials were quoted in state media as saying the deaths were initially missed because the city's health system was overwhelmed at the outbreak's peak. The revised Wuhan figures raised China’s death toll to 4,632, up from 3,342.