Left Menu
Development News Edition

Tokyo residents stockpile essentials to hunker down for the weekend

Reuters | Tokyo | Updated: 27-03-2020 12:37 IST | Created: 27-03-2020 11:31 IST
Tokyo residents stockpile essentials to hunker down for the weekend
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

Large queues formed at supermarkets and stores in Tokyo on Friday as residents in the Japanese capital prepared for a weekend at home, after the city's governor called on them to remain indoors to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Governor Yuriko Koike's plea on Wednesday to refrain from non-essential, non-urgent outings through April 12, and especially this weekend, prompted residents to stock up on everything from instant noodles and rice to toiletries and fresh produce, despite public-service warnings against hoarding.

Yuri Inoue, a 31-year-old graphic designer in Tokyo, said she was one of the "panic buyers", hoarding food for the next two weeks to allay concerns from her parents living outside Tokyo. "If convenience stores and supermarkets will stay open, people should stay calm. The government should emphasize that point more strongly," she told Reuters.

In one residential neighborhood, more than a dozen people lined up for toilet paper at a local drug store. One of them, an elderly woman, leaned on her walker as she held a 10,000-yen (about $92) note in her hand. Tokyo governor Koike asked for calm while repeating her pleas to refrain from weekend public gatherings.

"But I am saying you can go to supermarkets to buy food or medicines or go to hospitals," Koike said at a coronavirus meeting for the Tokyo government. "There are acts of securing things like food, but I would like to ask Tokyo citizens for calm behavior."

Tokyo has seen a surge in coronavirus cases this week, reporting a record 47 cases on Thursday for a total of 259. While not many for a city of nearly 14 million, experts have warned of a high risk of an "overshoot" or explosive rise given that more than half of the newest cases could not be traced.

The Tokyo area has also asked residents to refrain from congregating to view its famous spring cherry blossoms at parks and plans to close its zoos and aquariums for two weeks. Parts of three public parks in Tokyo will be closed off until the flower-viewing season is over, a Tokyo government official told Reuters, without specifying the dates.

And retail giants Takashimaya and Matsuya said they would shutter multiple department stores in the greater metropolitan area on the upcoming weekend. Coronavirus infections have climbed to more than 1,400 nationwide with 47 deaths, excluding those from a cruise ship that was quarantined last month. Globally, infections have topped half a million people and deaths at more than 24,000.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to order his cabinet to compile an economic package with spending worth $135 billion or more, government officials and lawmakers say, joining global policymakers in rolling out fiscal stimulus to avert a downturn from the spreading pandemic. Tokyo has not declared an emergency or a full-blown lockdown, and its streets were not as deserted as many European cities, where laws are forcing residents to stay indoors.

But during rush hour around 8 a.m., some subway lines in central Tokyo where commuters normally stand elbow-to-elbow were visibly less crowded, some even with empty seats. A truck driver delivering toilet paper and tissues to drug stores said he'd been working 12 to 13-hour shifts every day for the past month - compared with five-day weeks of 9-10 hours before the hoarding began.

"It's been tough," he told Reuters, declining to give his name. "This job involves a lot of lifting, so I don't know how long my body can last at this pace." Others worried about losing work as economic activity slows.

"They say we have to stay in but I'll probably end up going out since otherwise, I won't make any money," said taxi driver Takahiko Nihei. "If I stay at home I'll just worry about things: money, the virus, making a living. But if I get out and around, I can forget this for a while." ($1 = 108.3600 yen)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Public health care post-COVID 19 to go for revamping, not rebooting

Until now, the economies used to classify healthcare sector under social expenditure. However, the devastation caused by COVID 19 pandemic has upgraded public healthcare on topmost priority and core economic activity for controlling future ...

Coronavirus lockdowns to speed up long-pending revamping of supply chains

With millions of production lines impacted, business disruptions to some extent are unavoidable and the lessons learned from this turbulence will leave an everlasting impact on both global and local levels of supply chains....

COVID 19 to catalyze the redefinition of urban planning and sustainability

Until now the urban planning was focused on mitigation to natural disastrous, climate change, pollution, chronic illness and lifestyle diseases. However, the global pandemic of novel coronavirus is going to change the whole narrative of urb...

Ebola to COVID 19: Has Geopolitics prevailed over Professionalism in WHO

World Health Organization WHO is perceived as one of the most professional bodies of the United Nations. However, the role of WHO has come under question in handling outbreak two deadly diseases Ebola Viral Disease EVD and novel Coronaviru...

Videos

Latest News

Coronavirus crisis puts EU's credibility on the line: French minister

How the European Union responds to the coronavirus outbreak will determine its credibility and utility, a French minister said on Sunday, after the bloc failed to agree last week on measures to cushion the economic blow from the pandemic.If...

Iran announces 21.3 bn COVID-19 relief package

Iran on Sunday introduced a 21.3 billion euro relief package to help the vulnerable families and the private sector hit by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Government spokesperson Ali Rabiei. This package was approved in a meeting of ...

Greenland bans booze in capital over virus fears

The sale of alcohol has been banned in the Greenland capital Nuuk in a bid to reduce violence against children during the period of confinement over the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government announced. In such a situation, we have...

Deploy Defence personnel, vehicle to evacuate migrant

A leader of Janata Dal Secular, headed by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, on Sunday requested the government to deploy defence personnel along with vehicles to evacuate stranded persons from the cities to their villages. B M Farookh, ...

Give Feedback