Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Japan 'on the brink' as it struggles to hold back coronavirus

New employees attend an entrance ceremony as they sit on seats arranged to keep a distance from each other amid the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Tokyo, Japan April 1, 2020, in this photo released by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

By Kiyoshi Takenaka, Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will ban entry of foreigners from 73 countries and ask everyone arriving from abroad to quarantine for two weeks in its struggle to contain the coronavirus, with a senior minister warning the country had been pushed “to the brink”.

Medical experts advising Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a news conference on Wednesday that the rapid spread of contagion was severely straining hospitals in the capital Tokyo, in Osaka and some other prefectures, and that quick action was vital.

“Fundamental responses should be made as early as today or tomorrow,” Shigeru Omi, head of the Japan Community Healthcare Organisation, said. He said the medical system could collapse even before an “overshoot” - or explosive rise in cases.  Read more >>