Tokyo: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters Friday that the coronavirus state of emergency that is supposed to end next week will have to be kept in place roughly for another month.
Abe, citing a report by experts on a government task force, said Japanese medical systems are still under severe pressure with the number of confirmed cases far exceeding 10,000, even though Japan has averted explosive infections as in many other countries, and the spread of the infections has somewhat slowed under the ongoing state of emergency.
"We still need you to continue cooperating, and that's the experts' view," Abe said. He said he instructed Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is tasked with the coronavirus measures, to urgently prepare to extend the measures "for about a month." Abe said he will announce details Monday.
Shigeru Omi, deputy chair of the panel and a public health expert formerly with the World Health Organization, told reporters that the infections have not slowed as much as experts had hoped.
"If the resurgence occurs, medical systems will be quickly overburdened. Our consensus is that the ongoing framework of measures should be maintained," he said.
Japan has more than 14,000 cases, with over 400 deaths, according to the health ministry, though experts say there could be several times more patients.