March 26, 2020 / 2:45 AM / 16 days ago

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

TOKYO, March 26 (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

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