British Passenger Of Virus-hit Japan Ship Dies

29 Février, 2020, 06:32 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • British Passenger Of Virus-hit Japan Ship Dies

Her case, the first known of in Japan, highlighted how much is still unknown about the virus even as concerns grow about its global spread.

This evening, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the extraordinary announcement that he will be asking all of the country's elementary and junior and senior high schools to close temporarily from Monday.

The government has urged that big gatherings and sports events be scrapped or curtailed for two weeks to contain the virus while pledging that the 2020 Summer Olympics will go ahead in Tokyo.

The unidentified man's death is the latest linked to infections on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where more than 700 other people tested positive for the illness.

Abe has come under fire for what critics say is a lack of leadership and Japan's seemingly cautious approach to testing for the virus, especially compared with South Korea, which was preparing to test more than 200,000 members of a church at the heart of a surge in its outbreak.

The Abe administration has also requested businesses to make it easy for workers to take paid leave, and said his government is considering ways to help part-time workers whose income might drop during the period when they can not work as they need to take care of children staying at home.

"We have to prevent emergence of a new cluster of patients among children", he told parliament.

Abe's request to shut down schools until April will affect 12.8 million students at about 34,800 schools in Japan, as noted by the education ministry.

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"I'm really angry about this decision, which won't do anything to protect children", one mother of two told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

At least 186 people in Japan have contracted the virus and four people have died.

"My company doesn't offer to telework, so I'm going to have to take days off", added another mother. "The most important thing is to prevent infections, so there aren't many other options".

The city of Osaka also said it will close its kindergartens, elementary and junior high schools from Saturday for two weeks.

Jeff Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple University's Japan campus, said Abe's move on schools was plainly political in the wake of surveys showing growing public dissatisfaction with the government's handling of the outbreak.

The policy also "appears to go beyond what the government's own experts were recommending", he added.

He said the two countries were coordinating to ensure the "once-in-a-decade event" would be a success.

The Diamond Princess's operator confirmed all passengers have now left the ship, while crew are still disembarking to enter a new quarantine.

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