Written by Barrier Free Japan with extracts from Kyodo News
April 23 2020
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday 22 that now is “the most critical time” amid the new coronavirus outbreak if Japan wants to lift its state of emergency on May 6.
Abe also asked people to refrain from going to their hometowns to see their parents or family members during the Golden Week holiday from late April to early May, warning that such travel would raise the risk of transmitting the virus.
Care facilities in Japan are under pressure
Care homes for the elderly and disabled face difficulties with the COVID-19 threat. On April 17, a manager of a care facility in Fukushima said that the masks sent by the government were ‘too small for adults‘.
On April 18, Toyoma Prefecture reported the first death in the prefecture from COVID-19, a woman in her 90’s living in a care home. She died before she could receive the results of her PCR test, tests that showed her to have been positive for COVID-19.
In Chiba Prefecture, a care home for people with disabilities which saw a a ‘cluster’ of of infections, was “turned into a “hospital” “
To prevent the coronavirus spreading further, the Chiba facility’s interior is now split into “zones” based on the risk of infection. The residential area, which is prone to virus transmission, is labelled the “red zone,” and entry is prohibited to all but the on-site medical team and facility staff wearing protective gear.
Katsutoshi Fujii, who is the executive director of the disability welfare group “Kyosen” and who is blind, said, of the difficulties COVID-19 poses for people with disabilities in Japan: “The actual situation…is likely to become serious with time.”