More passengers leave quarantined cruise ship in Japan to go home

UNTV News   •   February 19, 2020   •   258

Disembarkation of passengers on the virus-hit cruise ship moored near Tokyo continued on Wednesday (February 19), after a controversial two-week quarantine that saw more than 500 people infected with the new coronavirus originating in China.

Buses escorted by Japan’s Self Defense Force and police vehicles were seen transporting passengers out of the port throughout the day, while remaining passengers looked on from the ship’s balcony.

The Diamond Princess, operated by Carnival Corp, was quarantined on arrival in the port of Yokohama since Feb. 3, after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong before it traveled to Japan was diagnosed with the virus. More than 540 people have been infected with the virus on the liner, which originally carried some 3,700 passengers and crew.

Foreign nationals such as Australians, Hong Kongers, and Canadians were set to leave the ship on Wednesday. The governments of these countries are preparing to evacuate them on chartered flights. (Reuters)

(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Kohei Miyazaki, Hideto Sakai, Akiko Okamoto)

Japan PM officially declares state of emergency

UNTV News   •   April 7, 2020

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe | Image courtesy of Reuters Connect

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday (April 7) declared a state of emergency to fight new coronavirus infections in major population centres and unveiled a stimulus package he described as among the world’s biggest to soften the economic blow.

The state of emergency, giving authorities more power to press people to stay at home and businesses to close, will last through May 6 and be imposed in the capital, Tokyo, and six other prefectures – accounting for about 44% of Japan’s population.

“The most important thing is to change people’s actions,” Abe said in televised comments made at a meeting of a government task force.

Abe will speak at a news conference later tonight to explain to the citizens what the emergency declaration means for the people to get consent from the public. (Reuters)

(Production: Hideto Sakai, Akiko Okamoto)

Coronavirus turns Japan business mood negative for first time in 7 years

UNTV News   •   April 3, 2020

Japanese manufacturers turned pessimistic for the first time in seven years in the three months to March, the central bank’s “tankan” survey showed on Wednesday (April 1), as the coronavirus pandemic pushed the economy closer to recession.

Non-manufacturers’ sentiment also worsened to levels not seen in seven years as travel bans, event cancellations and social distancing policies hurt consumption, clouding an already darkening outlook for the economy. The data underscores the challenge Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces in stopping the pandemic wiping out the benefits his “Abenomics” stimulus policies have brought to the economy.

The headline index measuring big manufacturers’ sentiment worsened to minus 8 in March from zero in December, the survey showed, compared with a median market forecast of minus 10. It was the first time in seven years the big manufacturers’ index turned negative.

The pandemic has hit an economy that had already suffered the fastest contraction in 5-1/2 years in the December quarter due to last year’s sales tax hike and the U.S.-China trade war. (Reuters)

(Production: Kohei Miyazaki, Hideto Sakai, Akiko Okamoto)

Spain still faces difficult time despite hopeful signs

UNTV News   •   April 3, 2020

Spain still faces a difficult time in curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), despite hopeful signs, the country’s Health Minister Salvador Illa said.

Spain’s health ministry reported on Thursday afternoon that the coronavirus cases in the country reached 110,238 and the death toll hit 10,003.

Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said despite the grim figures, the curve of contagion has shown signs of reaching the peak. But he also warned of uneasy time in the coming weeks.

To avoid medical system breakdown, Spain has to further reduce hospitalized patients and to ensure that all symptomatic residents can get tested and treated.

The Spanish government is beefing up efforts to purchase and distribute medical supplies. Meanwhile, the country is also speeding up the production of equipment such as respirators.

Spain’s deputy health emergency chief Maria Jose Sierra said that the crux for Spain’s epidemic control is its beds in intensive care units (ICU).

Currently, Spain has about 6,000 ICU beds, but has nearly 7,000 COVID-19 patients.

“Spain has 10 ICU beds for every 100,000 people, while Germany has 29 ICU beds for every 100,000 people and Italy has 13 ICU beds for every 100,000 people. This may be one of the factors that affect the death rate,” said Carlos Chaccour, a medical investigator from Barcelona Institute for Global Health, ISGlobal. (Reuters)

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