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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday declared a month-long state of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka and five other prefectures in an effort to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration will come into effect on Wednesday…reports Asian Lite News

ROME, March 15, 2020 (Xinhua) -- Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio (1st L), Chinese Ambassador to Italy Li Junhua (2nd L) and delegates of Chinese expert team attend a press conference at the Italian Red Cross headquarters in Rome, Italy, March 13, 2020. China is getting back on its feet again after the coronavirus emergency, and Italy, which is suffering the second most severe impact from the pandemic at global level, will soon be able to do the same, Luigi Di Maio said on Friday. (Photo by Alberto Lingria/Xinhua/IANS) by .

Specifically, it covers the capital and other major prefectures including Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka.

The declaration will give prefectural governors more power to take preventative measures to curb the continued spread of the virus, the cases of which have been steadily increasing, particularly in urban areas.

The development comes as Japan has recorded 3,906 coronavirus cases, with 92 deaths.

The Tokyo metropolitan government along with healthcare specialists said the number of hospital beds available for coronavirus patients will soon reach capacity, with the health ministry rapidly trying to secure more.

A panel of government experts warned recently that the country’s healthcare system could collapse if coronavirus cases here continue to spike.

The healthcare system in Tokyo and four other prefectures is under increased strain and “drastic countermeasures need to be taken as quickly as possible”, the experts concluded.

BAGHDAD, March 25, 2020 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese team of health experts sent to provide assistance to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in Iraq work in Baghdad, Iraq, March 25, 2020. A new PCR laboratory built by the Chinese team of experts was inaugurated on Wednesday in Iraq's capital Baghdad, as part of China's support for Iraq in containing the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. TO GO WITH "Chinese-built lab inaugurated in Iraq's capital to contain coronavirus outbreak" (Xinhua/Khalil Dawood /IANS) by .

Prior to a state of emergency being declared over the virus, Abe will have to seek the opinions from an advisory panel comprised of medical experts, and the level of emergency will have to meet specific criteria.

If a state of emergency was declared by Abe, the government would have extended powers to instruct people to stay at home on a regional or national basis, issue closures to schools, and restrict the use of locations for mass gatherings.

The government would also have the authority to demand that supplies deemed essential to combating the spread of the virus be sold to them or requisitioned, and be able to temporarily commandeer private land or facilities for the purposes of providing medical care.

As of Sunday, 143 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Tokyo, a record daily high for the capital, bringing the total to 1,034, with Japan’s health ministry and local governments adding that nationwide cases had risen to 3,531 as of Sunday afternoon.

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