Japan PM Shinzo Abe asks citizens to be more diligent amid coronavirus spread

Japan PM Shinzo Abe asks citizens to be more diligent amid coronavirus spread
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Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (File | AP)
Highlights

Abe noted that many people in urban areas made trips out of town last weekend, posing risks of spreading the virus and putting elderly people in jeopardy.

Tokyo: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed concerns Tuesday that Japanese people haven't followed social distancing measures as much as they're supposed to under a state of emergency he declared two weeks ago to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Abe asked citizens to do more to prevent Japanese health care systems from collapsing.

Abe made a stay-at-home request on April 7 to reduce social interactions by as much as 80% in an effort to limit infections.

But surveys show the movement of people was not down that much at major train stations, and even less in downtown areas where restaurants and grocery stores are still operating.

"Please avoid making out-of-town trips," Abe said Tuesday.

He said hospitals are overburdened already and infections must be slowed.

"I seek further cooperation from all of you," he added.

Abe noted that many people in urban areas made trips out of town last weekend, posing risks of spreading the virus and putting elderly people in jeopardy.

Criticized for being too slow and lax in responding to the COVID-19 crisis, Abe expanded a state of emergency that was initially limited to Tokyo and six urban areas to all of Japan last week to prevent people from travelling as the nation approaches its extended “golden week” holidays later this month.

The number of cases in Japan has topped 11,000, and Tokyo is still reporting more than 100 daily.

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