Spain, Italy Coronavirus Outbreak Slows as Japan Declares National Emergency

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will declare a state of emergency for up to one month in parts of the country as the number of coronavirus cases rises.

Abe said on Monday that the government will declare the emergency on Tuesday in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka. Officials there report more than 3,650 cases of the coronavirus, and 85 people have died in the country.

“[The declaration] is estimated to last a period of one month,” The Japan Times quoted Abe as saying. “This state of emergency declaration is to ensure the medical care system stays intact and to ask for even more cooperation from the people to avoid contact with each other to reduce infection as much as possible.”

The declaration will empower local governments to take restrictive measures in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. However, it will differ in some ways than emergency declarations in European countries. Governors will be able to request residents stay at home except to carry out essential services.

Local officials will also be able to request that businesses “thoroughly implement infection control measures,” The Japan Times reported. Governors can also ask schools, child care facilities, movie theaters and other public facilities to temporarily close.

Abe additionally announced on Monday the details of a $989 billion economic stimulus package, including billions of dollars in direct cash payments.

While COVID-19 is growing in Japan, two countries at the epicenter of the pandemic, Spain and Italy, are experiencing a slowdown in their cases. Spain’s Health Ministry reported 637 deaths on Monday over the past 24 hours, representing the lowest daily percentage increase since early March.

On Sunday, the ministry recorded an increase of 1,279 cases, the smallest daily rise since March 14.

Spain has more than 135,000 cases and 13,055 deaths, but the percentage increase of new cases has been declining since March 24.

Italy, which has nearly 129,000 cases and more than 15,880 deaths, recorded on Sunday its lowest death total within a 24 hour period in two weeks with 525 deaths.

Globally, more than 1.28 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported and more than 70,350 people have died.

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