Asia Today: Central Japan region put under virus emergency

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People wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus hold portable fans to cool themselves in the heat in Tokyo, Wednesday,...

People wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus hold portable fans to cool themselves in the heat in Tokyo, Wednesday,... (AP photo)

The governor of Japan's Aichi Prefecture has announced a regional “state of emergency” seeking to curb the coronavirus.

Gov. Hideaki Ohmura on Thursday (Aug 6) asked businesses to close altogether or close early and urged people to stay home at night.

The measures continue through Aug. 24, a period that coincides with the Obon holidays, when schools and many companies close. Aichi includes Nagoya, which is home to Toyota Motor Corp.’s headquarters.

The governor says confirmed coronavirus cases have been rising in Aichi since mid-July at 100 or more a day. Before that, daily cases had been zero for extended periods.

Japan’s national government in April called for social distancing and business closings, though those measures were gradually lifted. Japan has had nearly 42,700 confirmed coronavirus cases and about 1,000 deaths.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— China's biggest recent outbreak of coronavirus has grown slightly. More than 600 people have developed COVID-19 in the far northwestern region of Xinjiang, with 27 new cases reported Thursday in its capital and largest city, Urumqi. Another three cases were reported in the northeastern port city of Dalian, where a smaller outbreak has been traced to a seafood market, and seven cases were reported among Chinese travelers arriving from overseas for a total of 37 over the previous 24 hours. Hong Kong reported 85 new virus cases and one additional death. The origin of 33 of the cases remains unknown, according to the city’s Center for Health Protection. Hong Kong has recorded 43 deaths from the virus among more than 3,700 cases.