A quiet weekend it is. Governor Yuriko Koike held a press conference at 8pm on March 25 to formally ask Tokyo citizens to refrain from all non-urgent outings this Saturday and Sunday (March 28 and 29). The request is a preventative measure to fight the coronavirus outbreak which has put a number of cities around the globe on lockdown. Koike has warned that if more actions aren’t taken to decrease the number of coronavirus cases, the government will be forced to put the city on lockdown as a final resort.
As of Tuesday, March 24, the number of reported cases is at least 171 in Tokyo and 1,211 in Japan. This doesn’t include the cases detected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship that docked in Yokohama where 712 people tested positive for the virus.
The call to stay indoors comes after the agreement that the highly anticipated Tokyo Olympic Games would have to be delayed until summer 2021 at the latest. So far, the low number of reported coronavirus cases in Japan have kept some Tokyoites a tad cool about the current situation resulting in hundreds of hanami (sakura viewing) picnics in the past week. With hope, this call to avoid making unnecessary outings will convince people to hold off on activities just for a while longer so the outbreak can be nipped in the bud.
The past three days have resulted in a record number of new infections in Tokyo, with officials reporting 16 cases on Monday, 17 on Tuesday and 41 cases on Wednesday. With the spike of newly reported cases of coronavirus in the capital, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also seeking to stop all non-essential travel abroad. Those who have already arrived in Japan from overseas are being asked to stay in self-isolation for a period of 14 days.
The government continues to urge everyone to work from home on weekdays when possible and advises that major events and activities be cancelled until April 12, whereupon further steps will be taken if necessary.
Keep up-to-date with the coronavirus situation in Tokyo here.
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