World • 04 March, 2020

Japan eyes emergency coronavirus legislation as infections top 1,000

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government plans to implement a special law effective for up to two years aimed at better responding to the coronavirus outbreak and enabling it to declare a state of emergency if needed, ruling party sources said Wednesday, as the number of infections reported in Japan topped 1,000, Kyodo reports.

Abe is hoping to secure enough support from opposition parties critical of what they see as his government's relaxed response to the outbreak as the ruling coalition wants a bill to clear parliament in mid-March.

The government plans to revise the existing law on novel influenza so it can take similar steps for two years until February 2022 against the new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, a pneumonia-like respiratory disease, according to the sources.

COVID-19 was officially classified in Japan as a designated infectious disease in February.

"We want to seek a revision (to the influenza law) that would allow us to take measures against the new coronavirus," Abe told a parliamentary session in the House of Councillors.


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