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Schools reopen in Hokkaido, Japan

By Jane Kingsu Cheng

It has been three weeks since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the abrupt closure of schools in Japan. Like the rest of the countries who are battling COVID-19, this decision was made to control the spread of the virus.  “The coming week or two is an extremely important time,” the prime minister said in a report. “This is to prioritize the health and safety of the children and take precautions to avoid the risk of possible large-scale infections for many children and teachers who gather and spend hours together every day.”

Getting back to normal

Hokkaido, a popular tourist spot located north of Japan, has over 150 reported positive cases. Though they have the highest number of domestic infections with six deaths, according to Japan Times, there has been a decrease in the number of new cases. 

An expert panel in Japan recommended the reopening of schools for areas with low numbers of cases last Thursday, and this includes Hokkaido. “We will end the emergency declaration as scheduled on March 19 and from the 20th move to a new stage to overcome the crisis,” announced Governor Naomichi Suzuki.

Taking note of extra precautions

Koji Wada, a professor of public health at the International University of Health and Welfare in Tokyo, added,

“There are some areas where almost all the patients have been identified in the past two weeks. So in those areas, it’s OK to reopen schools, even now.”

Despite the emergency lift, the Hokkaido government reminds their citizens to be aware of their surroundings so that they can prevent further spread of the virus. Mass gatherings should still be avoided. (With reports from AP, Japanese Times, and Bloomberg)



Source: Manila Bulletin

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