Japan calls for nationwide teleworking during state of emergency
Tokyo, Jan 8 (efe-epa).- Japan aims to reduce daily movements of workers by 70 percent in Tokyo during the new state of emergency that has been in effect since Friday in the capital, in order to curb the boom of COVID-19 infections.
The minister in charge of the government response against the pandemic, Yasutoshi Nishimura, called Friday on the country’s main employers’ associations to take measures aimed at generalizing teleworking. This is one of the actions of the state of emergency declared in Tokyo and its surroundings until Feb. 7.
During an online meeting, Nishimura said the number of infections in recent weeks is at “a much higher level” compared to last spring, when the state of emergency was declared for the first time during the first wave of infections.
The minister also called for the collaboration of the catering sector, one of which will be most affected by the new state of emergency because the government has asked establishments to close at 8 p.m.
Nishimura said “reducing the flow” of customers in these establishments is essential to control infections, since 60 percent of new infections are occurring in bars and restaurants, according to government data.
The state of emergency does not include the confinement of the population, although the Japanese authorities have recommended that citizens stay at home except for essential travel and avoid taking public transport at peak times.
The exceptional measure was announced the day before by the Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, with the aim of curbing the rampant increase in infections that the country has been registering, with Tokyo at the forefront, in recent weeks.
On Friday, the capital registered 2,392 new infections, which is the second consecutive day above 2,000 and the highest figure after the maximum reched the day before (2,447).
On Thursday, coinciding with the declaration of the new health emergency, a new maximum number of contagions at the national level of 7,570 cases was also reported, which places the accumulated figure above 267,000, with 3,885 deaths.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said Friday that the health system of the capital is “in an extreme situation,” with an occupancy of close to 90 percent of the hospital beds reserved for seriously ill COVID-19 patients.
The state of emergency has been declared in Tokyo and in neighboring Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa, although the government plans to extend it in coming days to Osaka and Aichi if record spikes continue. EFE-EPA