2020.04.17

News Headlines - 17 April 2020

Wife of Japan's Abe criticised for group shrine visit, adding to his coronavirus woes - Reuters

The prime minister’s support has been hurt by what critics say is a timid and sluggish response to the outbreak, and by widespread criticism that he has appeared tone deaf to the severity of the crisis in his own social media posts.
Abe’s wife, Akie, became a trending topic on Japanese Twitter on Thursday, with her name gaining more than 17,000 retweets by mid-morning after a weekly magazine said she had visited a shrine in southwest Japan on March 15.
That was about two weeks after her husband asked schools to close and organisers to scrap or curtail events, but before he declared a state of emergency.

Coronavirus lockdown: Lessons from Hokkaido's second wave of infections - BBC News

In late February, Hokkaido became the first place in Japan to declare a state of emergency due to Covid-19... The policy worked and by mid-March the number of new cases had fallen back to one or two a day. On 19 March the state of emergency was lifted, and at the beginning of April, schools re-opened.
But now, just 26 days after the state of emergency was lifted, a new one has had to be imposed.

Osaka asks for raincoats as medical workers short of anti-virus gear | The Japan Times

The Osaka Municipal Government requested Tuesday that citizens offer unused raincoats as an alternative to protective gear that is in short supply at medical institutions amid a surge in coronavirus infections.
In issuing the request, Mayor Ichiro Matsui said medical professionals at some institutions in the major Japanese city have no choice but to wear trash bags when treating patients.

Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2021 'very unrealistic unless vaccine is found' - BBC Sport

Professor Sridhar, who is chair of global health at the University of Edinburgh, said the chances of Tokyo 2020 going ahead as planned "all depends on a vaccine"...
"If we do get a vaccine within the next year then actually I think that (Olympics) is realistic. The vaccine will be the game-changer - an effective, affordable, available vaccine.
"If we don't get a scientific breakthrough then I think that looks very unrealistic.
"I think they've made the right decision in saying 'we are going to put it back a year and re-evaluate'.

On North Korea's most important holiday, Kim Jong Un was nowhere to be seen - CNN

April 15 is North Korea's most important holiday, the Day of the Sun.
It celebrates the birthday of the country's founding father, Kim Il Sung, and has in the past been marked with events like satellite launches and massive military parades. The North Korean calendar even begins on April 15 and years are measured from the date of Kim's birth.
But this year, celebrations were more subdued and appear to have come and gone without a public appearance by leader Kim Jong Un, which is unusual.

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