As Japan tries to contain the coronavirus outbreak, the number of confirmed cases has topped 1,000, which includes the 706 cases from the Diamond Princess.
Of these numbers, Hokkaido reports the largest of cases at 79, which prompted the prefectural government to declare a state of emergency.
The number of new confirmed cases rose to 14. Last week, Abe Shinzo made the sudden decision to close all public elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools as Japan entered what was reported to be the most critical two weeks in slowing down the spread of COVID-19.
What followed Abe’s announcement were a series of shocking decisions that made the public realize the severity of the situation: The Tokyo Disney Resort announced they would close their parks for two weeks, several eikawa (English conversation schools) followed suit, and multiple events have been cancelled left and right.
As a result, 22 countries (as of March 4, 2020) have restricted access to people visiting from Japan, while more than 40 countries have started conducting restrictive measures like tests and quarantines. While Japan was able to avoid the strictest measures in the United States, President Donald Trump has stated that they will keep an eye on Japan. Therefore, restrictions could also take place in the future.
After Abe’s announcement, people also succumbed to panic buying. The targeted items were toilet paper and tissues despite multiple sources reporting that there is no such thing as a scarcity of such items.