Coronavirus outbreak latest: April 28, 2020

Here are the latest updates from Japan and beyond on the coronavirus outbreak:

(A pachinko parlor in the western Japan city of Kobe remains in operation on April 27, 2020, despite an official request for temporary closure under a state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic.)

As of 11 p.m., Tuesday, April 28 (Japan time)

  • Q&A: Japan’s coronavirus-related border controls
  • Japan will begin providing the anti-flu drug Avigan for free to 38 countries as early as this week for treating patients with the new coronavirus, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Tuesday.
  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed on Tuesday the difficulty of fighting a coronavirus-triggered economic slowdown, saying that stimulus cannot easily buoy the economy.
  • The economy of China’s Hubei Province, the original epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak, plunged 39.2 percent from a year earlier in the first quarter of 2020, official data showed Tuesday.
  • New Zealanders lined up from before dawn Tuesday at McDonald’s drive-throughs across the country, as cafes, restaurants and takeaway stores reopened on a limited-service basis after five weeks of one of the strictest coronavirus lockdowns in the world.
  • The Tokyo metropolitan government has clarified Gov. Yuriko Koike’s statement that all pachinko parlors in Tokyo have complied with requests to suspend business as of Tuesday morning, after at least four were found to still be operating in the afternoon.
  • The head of the Japan Medical Association said Tuesday it will be difficult to hold the postponed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games next summer as currently rescheduled without a vaccine against the new coronavirus.
  • Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday that all civil servants will gradually resume normal work from the office starting next week as the coronavirus pandemic has stabilized in the territory.
  • Japanese star Kei Nishikori returned to action while recovering from elbow surgery, joining a group of fellow top tennis professionals in contesting the Madrid Open Virtual Pro, a video game version of the clay-court tournament, as pro tennis tours remain on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Aerosol Box, created and shared online by an anesthesiologist from Taiwan as a solution to protect health care providers at high risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, is attracting interest around the world amid the global shortage of personal protective equipment.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump said he has information about the health condition of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, as rumors continue to swirl that the leader of the secretive country may be gravely ill.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to work after recovering from the new coronavirus that led to his hospitalization about three weeks ago, warning the public not to let their guard down amid the pandemic.

As of 11:00 p.m., Monday, April 27 (Japan time)

  • Although not targeted by authorities for closure requests under measures to battle the spread of COVID-19, many bookstores in major metropolitan regions of Japan have chosen to bring down the shutters or curtail opening hours, dealing a blow to book and magazine publishers alike
  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that Japan will soon approve anti-viral drug Remdesivir for the treatment of coronavirus patients, in what will be the country’s first such decision amid the pandemic.
  • Some of the crew aboard an Italian cruise ship docked for repairs at Nagasaki Port in southwestern Japan who have tested negative for the novel coronavirus will be sent home as early as this week, the vessel’s operator said Monday.
  • Japan’s Yosakoi Festival has been cancelled for the first time in its 66-year history, as the new coronavirus continues to spread across the country, its organizers said Monday.
  • Japan will deny entry to foreign travelers from a further 14 countries including Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, strengthening its border controls to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday.
  • The Bank of Japan decided Monday to take additional easing steps for the second straight month, including abolishing its limit on buying government bonds and further expanding its asset-purchasing program, to cushion the economy from the impact of the spread of the novel coronavirus.
  • An illustration by famed Japanese cartoonist Leiji Matsumoto, put up for an online auction to support a hospital in Turin, Italy, that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, was bought for 7,000 euros ($7,500).
  • The Japanese government on Monday submitted to parliament a 25.69 trillion yen ($240 billion) reworked supplementary budget to fund a package of emergency measures aimed at mitigating the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

List of shops closed in Tokyo following emergency declaration

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Useful resources for foreign residents and visitors in Japan

  • NEW!  Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s “Tokyo Coronavirus Support Center for Foreign Residents (TOCOS)” multilingual hotline
    – Available in Simple Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Nepali, Indonesian, Tagalog, Thai, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Khmer, and Burmese, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays except national holidays. 
    0120-296-004 (toll free)

  • AMDA Medical Information Center’s “Multilingual Consultation Service Regarding COVID-19
    (April 10~May 20, 2020)
    – Available in English, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends and national holidays. Also available in Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, Spanish, Vietnamese and Portuguese on designated weekdays. Check schedule here.
    – Available in English and Chinese on weekdays only, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s COVID-19 info
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s hotline
    – Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    Available via fax for those with hearing impairments
  • Japan National Tourism Organization’s “Guide for when you are feeling ill”
    Multilingual clinic/hospital search available in English, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese
  • JNTO’s “Japan Visitor Hotline
    – Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese 24 hours a day
    (from overseas)
  • Japan’s health ministry hotline
    – Available in Japanese only, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • World Health Organization’s “Q&A on coronaviruses

(Masked people walk in Tokyo’s Otemachi business district on April 27, 2020, amid concerns over the new coronavirus.)

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