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Japan unveils emergency measures to fight coronavirus

  • February 13, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 11.23 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Feb. 13 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government unveiled a set of emergency measures on Thursday to fight the spread of the new coronavirus, including setting up medical clinics across the country for outpatients feared to be infected with the virus.

The measures worth 15.3 billion yen also include loans and loan guarantees by state-backed Japan Finance Corp. for small businesses hit hard by the virus outbreak.

“I want you to carry out the measures immediately,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told his ministers at a meeting.

At a meeting set for Friday, the Abe cabinet is expected to approve plans to spend 10.3 billion yen in reserve funds under the government’s fiscal 2019 budget to finance the emergency measures.

The package has five pillars–support for returnees from China, measures against domestic infections, border controls, measures for businesses and international cooperation.

The government pledged to carry out the measures without fail in part to ensure the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in summer take place in a safe environment.

The new clinics, which will be set up in all of the country’s 47 prefectures, will refer patients to prepared medical institutions. The government will also set up consultation centers to give advice to visitors when infections are feared.

The government will introduce virus test equipment at regional public health centers. It will cooperate with the National Institute of Infectious Diseases to speed up virus tests.

In cooperation with companies, the government will accelerate the development of easy-to-use test kits, antiviral drugs and vaccines.

The government will give subsidies to face mask makers planning to boost production as masks are in short supply. It will call on drugstores to refrain from excessive orders for masks and limit mask sales in terms of quantity.

On border controls, the Immigration Services Agency and quarantine offices will work together to strengthen immigration and quarantine checks. The government will prepare a system that will enable the isolation of those infected with the virus.

For companies hit by the virus outbreak, the government will ease standards for providing grants aimed at maintaining employment. It will also expand support to maintain supply chains.

The government will also provide support for students who returned to Japan from China for a temporary stay. It will call on universities and other educational institutions to respond flexibly if students are infected with the virus.

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