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As COVID-19 cases in Japan begin to decline, the country has announced to lift its nationwide lockdown. Keep on reading to find out more about the strategies and techniques used by the island country to combat the virus. By Upasana Singh
This week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the Coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and four other remaining areas, thus putting an end to the nationwide lockdown. As the country gradually reopens, government officials stated that it is still necessary to take caution to prevent a second wave of the virus.
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During the end of March and the beginning of April, the country’s number of COVID-19 cases started to increase. To manage the situation, on April 7, a state of emergency was announced for the capital city of Tokyo and six other regions, eventually extending it to the rest of the country. Strict measures such as shutting down of educational institutions and officers were imposed. However, citizens were given an option to keep their businesses open if it was necessary. No penalties were imposed for breaking these rules.
Most regions in the country weren’t in lockdown since last week, but a few areas of northern Hokkaido as well as surrounding Tokyo, adhered to the lockdown protocols until the latest announcement.
After a few days of stay-at-home orders, it was observed that the number of new infections fell from as high as 700 per day to just a dozen across the country. According to Worldometer, Japan’s testing numbers remained the same throughout the lockdown. Reportedly, the East Asian country has conducted 270,000 tests to date which is the lowest per capita rate in the group of seven advanced economies.
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In his announcement, the Prime Minister thanked the people of Japan in helping flatten the curve and reduce the number of Coronavirus cases. As reported by Economic Times, he claimed, “Every area of the country has met the conditions for ending the emergency, which is extremely strict by global standards. In Japan’s own way, we have largely brought the infection under control in a month and a half.”
Abe further stated that the country must accept the new normal and continue to avoid the three C’s—closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact. As the virus is present in other parts of the world, border controls will remain tightened.
As declared by the Prime Minister, the need of the hour is to create a new lifestyle and change people’s way of thinking to adapt to these testing times.
Moreover, the Japanese government has launched the Go To Travel initiative in hopes of reviving its tourism industry. Under the initiative, subsidies worth up to 20,000 yen (USD 185) per day will be given to people going for leisure trips in the country. Expected to begin in July, travellers will be able to cover half the cost of their trip including shopping and restaurant bills through a combination of steep discounts and vouchers. Though the cost of travelling will not be covered, this is an amazing initiative to promote domestic travel and revitalise the economy. Interested citizens can apply for booking via Japanese travel agencies or directly with hotels and traditional Japanese inn known as ryokan.