Saturday, 4/7/2020 | 6:48 UTC+0

Japan to set up coronavirus HQ, possible step to emergency declaration: media

FILE PHOTO: Crowds wearing protective masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus, are seen at the Shinagawa station in Tokyo, Japan, March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Japanese government was preparing to set up a special headquarters on coronavirus as early as Thursday afternoon, a step that could set the stage for declaring a state of emergency over the outbreak, Kyodo news agency reported, after the capital of Tokyo saw a sharp rise in cases this week.

Under a law revised earlier in March to cover the coronavirus, the prime minister can declare a state of emergency if the disease poses a “grave danger” to lives and if its rapid spread threatens serious economic damage. The virus has already increased Japan’s recession risk.

If a state of emergency is declared, governors in hard-hit regions would have to take steps such as asking people to stay home, closing schools and other public facilities and cancelling large events.

Reporting by Linda Sieg; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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