Japan’s government passed the bill for state of emergency due to COVID-19

On Tuesday, Japan’s government finalized a bill granting the prime minster the power to declare the country’s state of emergency over the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Anadolu Agency (AA).

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet expect to present the bill to the upper and lower house on Thursday and Friday to the parliament. According to AA, “If and when an emergency is declared, provincial prefectural governors will be empowered to ask residents to stay indoors, close down schools, and cancel events.”

The article also pointed out that “Abe also asked officials on Tuesday to call off or postpone sports and cultural events until at least March 19, when a government team will carry out a review of Japan’s fight against COVID-19.”

The government also approve 9.6 billion USD state of emergency package to help embattle businesses. The package includes zero-interest loans for small and medium companies that are short of income due to the outbreak. The government also provides financial support to freelance workers and several auto-sector companies in Japan.

A Japan Times article writes that “The ruling bloc is now trying to revise the law as soon as next week so that the legislation can be applied to the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The virus has already infected more than 1,000 patients nationwide, and has jeopardized the fate of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games set to start in late July.”

The same article said that Yukio Edano, who heads the Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP) of Japan said that “the situation is not serious enough yet for the prime minister to declare state of emergency. He added that “the government should consult with the Diet in advance if it will invoke such an emergency.”

Under the state of emergency, the article said that, governors would be authorized to request residents to stay inside and to temporarily close or downscale schools, offices and other public facilities.

Many countries have already declared state of emergency over the last week, including Spain and Italy. The cases of coronavirus in Europe has increased tremendously. In the last week, the number of cases in Italy have passed Iran and South Korea and became the second most infected country. Currently, Italy has over 15,000 cases and over 1000 deaths.

On the other hand, Ontario has closed all publicly funded schools for 2 weeks after March break. Since people are returning from all around the world in the past week, the Ontario government made the announcement in a statement on Thursday saying that “Ontario school have been ordered to remain closed from March 14 through to April 5 2020”.

University of Toronto, York University and Ryerson moved classes online for the rest of the semester in response to COVID-19.

The president of University of Toronto released a statement saying that “The situation is now accelerating very rapidly. [Therefore], we have decided to cancel all in-person undergraduate and research-stream masters and doctoral courses across U of T’s three campuses, and we will provide that teaching by other means,” Gertler said.

The city will use the next two weeks’ period to evaluate the situation and decide if any action is required. The provincial government said that they will be “providing additional resources for sanitation and personal hygiene products in schools and will be announcing further action ‘in the coming days’”.

This week, Canada’s Prime Minister’s wife was tested positive after her return from Europe. Since then different provinces across Canada has been implementing different policies to contain the outbreak of the virus, especially after students returning to the country after spring break.

Currently, Canada has 130 cases of coronavirus, and one death case in North Vancouver.