Ex-minister dies of COVID as Japan closes to foreigners
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Japan’s Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide holds a news conference in Tokyo
By Irene Wang
TOKYO (Reuters) – A 53-year-old former Japanese minister has died of COVID-19, his party said on Monday, becoming the first incumbent lawmaker to succumb to the disease in a nation scrambling to shut its doors to foreign travellers.
Yuichiro Hata, who was transport minister in 2012 and is the son of former Prime Minister Tsutomu Hatawho, died on Sunday, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan said.
Japan on Monday started banning non-resident foreign nationals from entering following the detection of a new, highly infectious coronavirus variant linked to a rapid rise in infections in Britain.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga urged calm ahead of the New Year holidays, when hospitals tend to become understaffed, and instructed ministers to remain alert.
“They say that no evidence is showing the vaccines that are already being administered overseas are not effective against this variant, and anti-infection steps for it are unchanged from those for the conventional virus,” Suga said.
“The virus recognises no year-end or New Year holidays. I ask each minister to raise the level of their sense of urgency and thoroughly carry out counter measures,” he told a meeting of the government’s taskforce on coronavirus responses.
Japan is facing a third wave of infections, with daily cases hitting a record 3,881 on Saturday, according to public broadcaster NHK.
A Japanese business traveller at Tokyo’s Haneda airport, where people were sparse, said the government should do more.
“Even though Japan is doing things to counter the variant, there are still reports of cases in Japan,” 56-year-old Seiji Oohira said on arriving from India, where he works for a construction-related company.
“So I think it’s better to tighten the restrictions even a little bit further.”
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.
Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.