Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he will declare a 30-day state of emergency in parts of the country in response to the rising confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Prime Minister Abe announced his intentions Monday during a televised speech after meeting with a special task force created to deal with the outbreak. Abe said he will formally impose the declaration Tuesday for Tokyo and six other prefectures, including the central port city of Osaka.
The declaration will give local authorities the legal power to call on its citizens to stay at home and to ask schools and businesses to close. Japan’s constitution, which weighs heavily in favor of civil liberties, does not empower the government to impose a mandatory quarantine.
The prime minister also announced a $990 billion stimulus bill to blunt the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, including $55 billion in direct payments to households and small businesses.
Abe has been reluctant to invoke a state of emergency, but appears to have been prompted to move after Tokyo reported 143 new cases reported Sunday, the largest number of confirmations in a single day, bringing the total number of cases in the capital to over 1,000.
Nationally, there are 3,500 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus, including more than 70 fatalities.