The corona virus is spreading around in Japan. More than 10,000 people have now been diagnosed as infected. Experts warn that more stringent measures are needed to avoid harming hospitals.

The island state, with 10,751 infections and 171 deaths, has so far been less affected than many European countries. However, the Japanese government has also taken less stringent measures to prevent further spread.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared a nationwide state of emergency. He also asked his countrymen to limit their contacts with other people. There are now far fewer people traveling by public transport in the capital Tokyo than usual.

However, the Japanese do not have to stay at home and many shops and restaurants are still open. Hospitals, meanwhile, have their hands full with the influx of new patients. In some cases, ambulances have been dispatched.

In Osaka, the mayor was forced to ask people to donate raincoats to health care providers. Due to shortages of protective equipment, they are now forced to walk around in garbage bags.

“The system is about to collapse in many places,” warns a virologist from Kobe University. He argues that his country should have taken a different approach when the virus spread further around, but is traditionally not good at it. “Because by thinking about Plan B you admit that Plan A may have failed.”

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Watch the live blog of Sunday 19 April here.

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