Live updates: the Covid-19 coronavirus situation in Tokyo and Japan right now

Keep calm and read this: the latest news and updates on the Covid-19 coronavirus situation in Tokyo and Japan

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How has the Covid-19 coronavirus affected Tokyo and Japan? To be honest, it hasn’t been the happiest or most relaxing time. According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, 1,598 positive cases (minus uncomfirmed cases and those from charter flights and cruise ships) have been confirmed in Japan as of April 2.

Nevertheless, we’re doing our best to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the virus by spending time inside. Whether you’re just passing through Japan, or living here for the long haul, remember to wash your hands, don’t touch your face and practice social distancing (staying two metres or more away from another person). 

If you’re not feeling well, or if there’s an emergency, the Japan National Tourism Organization has set up a 24-hour coronavirus hotline for tourists, available in English, Chinese and Korean. Call 050 3816 2787 within Japan, or +81 50 3816 2787 from overseas.

Also see: Attractions in Tokyo and Japan that are closed due to coronavirus

Live updates

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Cherry blossoms, Ueno Park, sakura
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News, City Life

[March 23] Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike warns of possible lockdown if Covid-19 cases increase

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike insists people practice self-restraint and cooperate to avoid spreading the virus. As The Japan Times reported: ‘“It is possible that depending on developments, we may need to take strong measures such as a so-called lockdown of the city,” Koike told a news conference. “We must, in any case, avoid that. Therefore, I want to ask all of the people of Tokyo for your further cooperation.”’

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[March 23] Travellers from the United States to self-quarantine for 14 days

On Monday March 23, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced travellers arriving in Japan from the United States of America are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days in their home or hotel and avoid public transportation. This will be effective from Thursday March 26 to the end of April. 

Japan urges travellers to avoid unnecessary travel to the United States. The United States now has a Global Level 4 Health Advisory - Do Not Travel warning. Americans currently travelling abroad should return to the United States or prepare to stay abroad indefinitely. 

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[March 24] More venues extend closure

Even though the original plan was to temporarily close popular venues until March 15 to avoid the spread of the virus, most have decided to extend the closure. Big name attractions including Tokyo Disney Resort (until beginning of April), teamLab Borderless (until further notice) and Universal Studios Japan in Osaka (until March 29) are all staying closed for now.

Most googled: Why do Japanese people wear masks
Illustration: Ayako Kojima

[March 10] Government bans reselling of face masks for profit

Starting on March 15, there will be a ¥1 million yen fine, one year imprisonment, or both for the reselling of face masks for profit. Reselling masks for the regular retail price is still allowed. 

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News, City Life

[March 2] Toilet paper becomes a hot commodity

In early March, Tokyoites began panic-purchasing toilet paper. Shelves were cleared out in drugstores and supermarkets because of false rumours claiming that the rolls were made in China or that toilet paper was being diverted to make face masks. The rumours have been debunked, but people are still hoarding.

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