İrem GÖL -TDO- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday declares a state of emergency to fight new coronavirus injections in major population centres and unveiled a stimulus package he describes as among the world’s biggest to soften the economic blow. The state of emergency, giving authorities more power to press people to stay at home and businesses to close, will last through May 6 and be imposed in the capital Tokyo, and six other prefecture – accounting for about 44% of Japan’s population.

Abe said: “If each of us can reduce contact with other people at least 70% and ideally by 80%, we should be able to see a peak in the number of infection in two weeks.” The government also approves the stimulus package worth 990 billion dollars, equal to 20% of Japan’s economic output, to cushion the impact of the epidemic on the world’s third largest economy.

Japan has been spared the big outbreaks of the coronavirus seen in other global hot spots, but a recent, steady rise in infections in Tokyo, Osaka and other areas led to growing calls for Abe to announce a state of emergency. Coronavirus infections in Tokyo more than doubled about 1,200 in the past week, with more than 80 new ones reported on Tuesday, accounting for the highest number in the country. Nationwide, cases have climbed past 4,000 with 93 deaths as of Monday.

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