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As Virus Cases Surge, Tokyo Governor says Lockdown May Be Only Way to Stem Rise


Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike holds a news conference about the coronavirus at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building on Monday. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI

 reports: Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said Monday that a citywide lockdown may become “the only option left” if various measures fail to prevent an explosive rise in the novel coronavirus in the capital.

“Cities around the world are in lockdown,” Koike said during a news conference Monday. “In Tokyo there is serious concern that clusters of infected individuals will lead to an explosive increase in the number of cases in the city. If that were to happen, we may have no choice but to impose strict isolation measures — a so-called lockdown — to prevent further spread.”

Despite ongoing measures to promote social distancing, as well as school closures and the cancellation of major public events, Tokyo was described as a region “at significant risk of further outbreaks” during a meeting of the government’s expert panel last week. According to an estimate by the health ministry, Tokyo could see upwards of 530 positive cases by April 8.

An additional 17 individuals were confirmed on Tuesday to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the largest number of cases the city has seen in a single day — breaking the record set just a day earlier.

     [Read the full story here, at The Japan Times]

As of Monday, Tokyo has reported 154 cases of infection and four deaths. Of those that tested positive, 101 were hospitalized, 31 of whom have subsequently been discharged. Koike warned that the next three weeks are critical, as Tokyo could see an “overshoot,” or an explosive increase in cases.

“It goes without saying that Tokyo is the biggest city in Japan and serves as a gathering place for businesses, universities and people from around the world,” the governor said. “Because of this, the city is at great risk of experiencing clusters of infection emerging among youth.”

But it’s impossible to decipher whether the governor is truly considering a citywide lockdown, or simply mentioning such a possibility to frighten people into complying with efforts to prevent the virus from spreading further, said urban planning expert Hiroo Ichikawa …. (read more)

Source: The Japan Times

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