Japan experts decline to raise alert, as virus 'not yet prevalent'
Nikkei -- Feb 17
The coronavirus outbreak remains at an initial stage in Japan, an expert panel under the health ministry said Sunday, choosing not to raise the country's alert level that would have allowed for a more aggressive response.

"The government is still able to track down infection routes to a certain degree," said Takaji Wakita, chief of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

The health ministry had hoped for an upgrade to the next alert level, which signals a rapidly growing outbreak with high domestic transmission rates. Such a move would let the ministry switch focus from screening overseas arrivals and tracking infection routes to catching homegrown cases early on and boosting treatment capacity.

"It was a difficult decision, but we are still at the beginning of an outbreak, and the virus is not yet prevalent," a member of the panel said.

Japan had 53 cases of the coronavirus as of Sunday, apart from those linked to a cruise ship docked in Yokohama. Despite the decision Sunday, the ministry remains concerned about the increase in patients with no direct ties to China, the epicenter of the outbreak.

"We will bolster measures at home in anticipation of an eventual surge in cases," a ministry official said.

News source: Nikkei
Apr 06
The governor of Tokyo has expressed alarm about the spread of the coronavirus as a daily record of 143 new cases was reported in the Japanese capital on Sunday. (NHK)
Apr 06
Japan will earmark 1 trillion yen ($9.2 billion) for a reserve fund to fight the new coronavirus pandemic, according to a draft of an emergency economic package being compiled by the government. (Kyodo)
Apr 05
There has been much talk in Japan recently about the imminent danger posed by an “overshoot,” a word used with no Japanese translation, little context and an apparent disregard for the English language, baffling English and Japanese speakers alike. (Japan Times)
Apr 05
Tokyo residents will be asked to refrain from leaving home but essential services will continue operating should Japan declare a state of emergency due to the novel coronavirus, Gov. Yuriko Koike said. (Japan Times)
Apr 05
The Japanese government will support a drive to boost production of the flu drug Avigan as a treatment for the novel coronavirus, with the aim of increasing stockpiles to triple the current amount, Nikkei has learned. (Nikkei)
Apr 04
Japan's Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and the main governing Liberal Democratic Party have agreed to give roughly 2,800 dollars to households whose income has fallen to a certain level due to the coronavirus outbreak. (NHK)
Apr 04
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government plans to start moving coronavirus patients with mild or no symptoms out of hospitals and into hotel rooms as early as next week. It aims at vacating hospital beds for a possible surge of more serious cases. (NHK)
Apr 04
Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko has outlined the steps the city's government would take if the prime minister declares a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak. (NHK)
Apr 04
The Japanese government plans to provide nations hit by the coronavirus pandemic with the anti-flu drug Avigan developed by a Japanese chemical firm. (NHK)
Apr 03
Many major cities around the globe have implemented lockdowns, but Japan’s big cities such as Tokyo and Osaka have not yet followed suit. Because of that, a sense of crisis about the coronavirus pandemic among the public seems relatively low. (Japan Times)