Abe rules out new state of emergency despite rising COVID-19 cases

Tokyo, Aug 6 (efe-epa).- Japan’s prime minister ruled out a new state of emergency in the country to stop the spread of COVID-19 Thursday, despite a resurgence in cases.

Shinzo Abe told journalists in the city of Hiroshima, where he was attending events marking the 75th atomic bombing of the city, that the number of new infections was increasing in the country, but ruled out that the figures justified a new health alert.

The situation is different from what it was when the extraordinary measure was declared in April, Abe added.

The state of emergency was in force in across the country from Apr. 7 to May 25, which allowed local authorities to close shops, cancel massive public events and restrict opening hours of bars and restaurants.

The measure was lifted six days before the scheduled date, when the number of cases reached about 16,600 and deaths 839.

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health, a total of 42,263 people have been infected with COVID-19 so far in Japan, while 1,026 have died.

Recently, several new daily case records have been registered both nationally and in the capital of Tokyo.

Among the reasons given by Abe for not reverting to the state of emergency is the fact that there is no overflow in the health system to prevent the admission of new patients, and that there are currently not as many seriously ill patients as when the last decision to apply the health alert was made.

Even so, he added, the situation will be closely monitored, with an eye on the health system so it does not show signs of saturation.

He also urged citizens to take precautions against the spread of the virus, including avoiding closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings with the Bon summer holiday coming up.

Some prefectural governors have voiced concern over visits of people from urban areas with high numbers of cases, while the alert levels were raised for trips to Gifu, Kumamoto, Miyazaki and Okinawa prefectures, warning they should be done only with special caution, Kyodo news reported. EFE-EPA


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