Third Cabinet official in Japan tests positive for COVID-19 amid expanded state of emergency

Third Cabinet official in Japan tests positive for COVID-19 amid expanded state of emergency

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Finance Minister Taro Aso attend the regular session of parl
FILE PHOTO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Finance Minister Taro Aso attend the regular session of parliament in Tokyo, Japan, on Jan 20, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

TOKYO: Japan's Cabinet said on Friday (Apr 17) that an official had tested positive for the coronavirus, making him the third case among officials at the Cabinet office.

The case inside the Cabinet office comes as Japan has expanded a state of emergency to all regions. The move allows local municipalities to urge people to stay inside, but without punitive measures or legal force.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans a press conference later on Friday on the coronavirus, but details are not known yet.

With more than 9,000 infections and nearly 200 deaths nationally, Abe said on Thursday the government is considering cash payouts for all in an effort to cushion the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

READ: Japan urges citizens to isolate as reports warn of 400,000 COVID-19 deaths

The infected Cabinet official in his 50s works at the cabinet's council for science, technology and innovation, but had no close contact with ministers around when he developed symptoms from Apr 10, an official at the Cabinet office said.

He was confirmed with the virus on Apr 16.

Two officials who worked with the man, and were within two metres, are staying at home, based on Cabinet policy, according to the Cabinet office.

Both have yet to test for the virus but public health centres in their towns will decide, depending on their conditions, according to the Cabinet.

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Source: Reuters/ga

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