Japan will declare a state of emergency in tokyo and six other prefectures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister said Monday Shinzo Abe, whose government is preparing a stimulus plan for $ 990 billion to cushion the impact of the epidemic on an economy that was already struggling to avoid a recession.

More than 3,500 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Japan and 85 have died. Although this is not a large outbreak compared to other countries, the numbers continue to rise, and the main concern is its spread in Tokyo, which has more than 1,000 cases, with 83 new ones registered on Monday.

“Given the crisis situation on the medical battlefront, the government has been recommended to prepare to declare a state of emergency,” Abe told the media.

The state of emergency, which according to Abe it will last around a month, It will give local governors the authority to ask the population to stay home and businesses to close, although not to decree the type of confinements seen in other countries.

In most cases there are no penalties for ignoring the requests, so enforcement depends more on citizen pressure and respect for authority.

Pressure on the government to take action has been mounting, although Abe has expressed concern about the possibility of making hasty decisions because of the restrictions on movement and business activity they would produce.

Abe also said on Monday that the government has decided to apply a stimulus package of about 108 trillion yen, including more than 6 trillion in direct payments to households and small businesses and another 26 trillion yen to allow for deferment of the contribution payment. to social security and taxes.

It is still unclear what proportion of the stimulus package will add additional expense to the state’s accounts.

“The government wants to help businesses continue their activities and protect jobs,” said Abe.

The state of emergency seems to have the support of the Japanese population. In a poll released Monday by JNN, led by TBS broadcaster, 80% of respondents said Abe should declare it, while 12% said it was not necessary.

INVOCATION TO CALM

Sounding the alarm for him high rate of cases that could not be tracked, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said last week she was in favor of the state of emergency declaration, an action that will urge residents to adhere to stronger social distancing measures.

An expert from the government’s coronavirus task force said Japan could avoid a sharp increase by reducing people-to-people contact by 80%.

Under a law revised in March to deal with the coronavirus, the Prime Minister can declare a state of emergency if the disease represents a “serious danger”For the population or if its rapid spread can have a great impact on the economy.

Japanese Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura called for calm by telling residents of affected prefectures that there is no need for them to flee to other regions, which could contribute to the spread of the virus, said the NHK station. (Rts)