Japan sets up COVID-19 HQ, preparatory steps to declare state of emergency: Kyodo news agency

On Thursday, the Japanese government said, it is setting up a special headquarters for the Wuhan coronavirus, which could be activated as early as this afternoon, as it preps up efforts to fight the virus which has gone pandemic.

Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported the development, which could potentially set the stage for declaring a state of emergency over the pandemic which saw a sharp rise in cases this week.

Under a new law that was revised earlier in March to cover the coronavirus, the prime minister can declare a state of emergency if the disease poses a “grave danger” to lives and if its rapid spread threatens serious economic damage.

The Wuhan coronavirus has already increased risks of recession for Japan’s economy.

In the event of a state of emergency, governors in hard-hit regions would have to take steps such as asking people to stay home, closing schools and other public facilities and cancelling large events.

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