China’s active infections fall below 100, Japan promotes 4-day work week

Beijing/Tokyo, May 15 (efe-epa).- The number of active COVID-19 infections in China has fallen to less than 100 for the first time since January, the country’s National Health Commission reported Friday.

There are 91 active SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus cases in the country, 11 patients of which are in serious condition.

In the 24 hours until midnight (16.00 GMT Thursday), 14 more patients were discharged, bringing the total to 78,209, while two more cases were in serious condition.

The total number of cases fell despite four new infections Thursday, all of them by local transmission and all in the northeast province of Jilin, where in the last week a resurgence has been detected, with several dozen infected.

After Hubei province, the epicenter of the pandemic, northeast China has been the most contentious point for local authorities, who in recent weeks have been forced to close the border with Russia after detecting infections in Chinese citizens coming from Russian territory.

Although this focus was initially limited to Heilongjiang province, where another express hospital was built to combat the outbreak, new cases of local transmission have emerged in Jilin and neighboring Liaoning province in recent days.

The authority did not report any new deaths, so the total number remains at 4,633 from the 82,933 infected patients officially diagnosed in China since the start of the pandemic, with 11 new asymptomatic cases, placing the total at 619.

Meanwhile, Japan’s main employers have recommended a four day work week to reduce the chances of COVID-19 transmission as companies start to reopen.

The Japanese Business Federation, known as Keidanren, published guidelines Thursday, including a reduction of the work week, a commitment to teleworking and a modification or rotation of schedules to avoid congestion on public transport, a possible focus of infection.

Some guidelines clash with Japanese social conventions, such as asking people who feel sick to rest at home, a rare occurrence before the epidemic, and for regular business card exchanges to be done online.

Keidanren recommended suspending all non-essential work trips and, if they must be carried out, recording which people, places and routes the worker has been in contact with.

It also asked companies to consider ways to hold meetings with shareholders, as well as interviews or seminars, without gathering in person.

Other recommendations are already widely applied in the country: maintaining a distance of 2 meters apart, frequent hand washing, wearing masks and ventilating offices at least twice an hour.

The document was published the same day the Japanese government announced the lifting of the state of emergency for 39 of the 47 prefectures of the country, which will allow the revival of economic activity in most provinces.

Despite this, the main business regions, such as Tokyo and Osaka, are still under the state of emergency.

Japan has registered over 16,000 COVID-19 cases, with 697 deaths, according to John Hopkins University. EFE-EPA


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