Here are the latest updates from Japan and beyond on the coronavirus outbreak:
As of 11 p.m., Saturday, May 9 (Japan time)
- One of Australia's busiest wildlife hospitals on Saturday took its annual charity fundraiser online for the first time due to coronavirus restrictions, opening up the event to animal lovers around the world.
- Cars lined up Saturday at a wholesale market in Kawasaki near Tokyo as customers were set to receive carnation or gerbera flowers for Mother's Day in a drive-through service to minimize people-to-people contact amid the coronavirus outbreak.
- Panasonic Corp. has developed a robot equipped with nozzles to autonomously spray disinfectant in hospitals in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday sent a message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un offering China's assistance in fighting the new coronavirus, according to the official Xinhua News Agency
- With an array of social restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Thai people are trying to adjust to a new normal that prioritizes public health during the pandemic and likely beyond.
- The Japanese government is set to approve on Wednesday test kits that can detect novel coronavirus antigens in 15 to 30 minutes as Japan seeks to improve its testing regime, sources close to the matter said Saturday.
- With many Japanese inns facing the threat of closure amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, people are turning to an online project to support them by making payments toward future stays.
- Locals in northeastern Japan have been stepping up efforts to boost sales of high-quality chicken that have dropped significantly in the wake of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
- The Japanese health ministry on Friday relaxed its guidelines for giving coronavirus tests to people who have developed a symptom of infection, scraping the rigid fever rule which has been criticized for denying many potential patients access to the tests.
- Japanese pharmaceutical company Shionogi & Co. said Friday it aims to launch a vaccine for the novel coronavirus as early as fall next year, as it is preparing to begin clinical trials by the end of the year.
- Smog from forest and peatland fires in Indonesia could complicate the country's efforts to battle the new coronavirus, as the government has no contingency plan for additional respiratory illness amid the ongoing pandemic.
- As coronavirus cases dwindle, Taiwanese baseball fans were allowed back into stadiums on Friday evening, although with a cap on numbers.
- The outbreak of the new coronavirus has sent the number of passengers on domestic and international flights plunging more than 95 percent from a year earlier during Japan's Golden Week holidays, Japanese airlines said Friday.
As of 11:00 p.m., Friday, May 8 (Japan time)
- The government said Friday that only households in Tokyo have so far received cloth face masks under its distribution plan but delivery to other parts of Japan will be completed by the end of May, when the extended state of emergency declared over the novel coronavirus ends.
- Japan's ruling parties on Friday finalized a plan to cover part of the monthly rent of small and midsize businesses struggling under the economic impact of the new coronavirus.
- Of Japan's 47 prefectures, 27 have decided to relax stay-at-home requests issued in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus, a senior government official said Friday.
- The organizer of the Tokyo Game Show said Friday it will consider holding this year's event online due to the ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus.
- The Australian government on Friday announced a three-step plan to gradually ease coronavirus restrictions, with the aim of completely reopening the economy by July.
- South Korea reported the discovery of a cluster of novel coronavirus infections in Seoul on Friday, just days after the government relaxed its social distancing guidelines.
- Some experts in Japan fear that prolonged school closures due to the spread of the new coronavirus are turning children stuck at home into internet and video game addicts, with a study showing that many are already spending more time glued to their smartphones and other devices.
- As Japan seeks to expand its capacity for polymerase chain reaction tests for the novel coronavirus, a Fujifilm Corp. subsidiary on Friday started selling a chemical that will allow for faster checks than existing methods.
- The Japanese government on Friday began issuing up to 2 million yen ($19,000) in cash benefits to small and midsize companies whose income has at least halved due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed Friday to cooperate over their countries' coronavirus response and development of treatment drugs and vaccines, a top Japanese official said.
- The Japanese government and ruling parties are considering drafting a second extra budget for fiscal 2020 to further help small and medium-sized businesses and people affected by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, sources close to the matter said Thursday.
- Yukio Okamoto, a diplomacy analyst who had been an adviser to past Japanese prime ministers, died on April 24 after contracting the novel coronavirus, a government source said Thursday. He was 74.
- The German Bundesliga, where a number of Japanese soccer players ply their trade, will resume behind closed doors on May 16 for the first time since the new coronavirus pandemic put the soccer season on hold in March, the German Football League said Thursday.
- The Japanese government approved Thursday the use of the anti-viral drug remdesivir for novel coronavirus patients in an expedited review as Japan, like other countries, scrambles to contain COVID-19 with the death toll gradually rising.
Useful resources for foreign residents and visitors in Japan
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government's "Tokyo Coronavirus Support Center for Foreign Residents (TOCOS)" multilingual hotline
- Available in Simple Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Nepali, Indonesian, Tagalog, Thai, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Khmer, and Burmese, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays except national holidays.
0120-296-004 (toll free)
- AMDA Medical Information Center's "Multilingual Consultation Service Regarding COVID-19"
(April 10~May 20, 2020)
- Available in English, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends and national holidays. Also available in Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, Spanish, Vietnamese and Portuguese on designated weekdays. Check schedule here.
- Available in English and Chinese on weekdays only, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government's COVID-19 info
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government's hotline
- Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Available via fax for those with hearing impairments
- Japan National Tourism Organization's "Guide for when you are feeling ill"
- Multilingual clinic/hospital search available in English, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese
- JNTO's "Japan Visitor Hotline"
- Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese 24 hours a day
+81-50-3816-2787 (from overseas)
- Japan's health ministry hotline
- Available in Japanese only, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- World Health Organization's "Q&A on coronaviruses"