Japan cancels memorial service, as COVID-19 toll reaches 31

Tokyo: Japan on Wednesday cancelled several prayer meetings to mark the ninth anniversary of a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami in wake of the coronovirus outbreak. Japan’s health ministry and local governments said that 31 people have died so far and the number of COVID-19 infections stood at 568, excluding those related to the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, a ceremony which was to be held in Tokyo and supported by the government in memory of those killed in 2012 tsunami, was cancelled for the first time, although Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he will deliver a national address from his official residence and observe a moment of silence, reported the Xinhua news agency.

Areas hardest-hit by the 2012 Tsunami, including Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures have cancelled or greatly scaled back ceremonies that have in the past been held to offer prayers for the lives lost and hopes for the future recovery of lives affected in the devastated regions.

Of the 568 confirmed cases in Japan, not including those related to the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship previously quarantined in Yokohama, the majority are in Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido which has confirmed 111 cases and declared a state of emergency over the situation.

The death toll in Japan from the virus currently stands at 31, according to the health ministry, with the figure including those from the Diamond Princess.

Aichi Prefecture, meanwhile, has 99 confirmed cases, Osaka 73, Tokyo 67, Kanagawa 43 and Hyogo Prefecture has confirmed 25 COVID-19 infections, according to the latest statistics from health ministry and local authorities.

The ministry also said that a total of 427 people have been discharged from hospitals after their symptoms improved.


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