Japanese PM Urges Nation to Stay at Home While Awkwardly Petting a Dog in Video

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has urged the country to remain at home to help combat the novel coronavirus outbreak in Japan with a video message also featuring Japanese singer and actor Gen Hoshino.

Abe is seen engaged in different activities, from awkwardly petting a dog and sipping a cup of tea, to reading a book and appearing to flip through television channels using a remote control.

Hoshino is shown in the other half of the split-screen video, strumming away on an acoustic guitar, performing a song by him which advocates social distancing. The song lyrics include: "Let's survive and dance, each one of us, wherever we are, all of us as one, let's sing at home," the Associated Press reported.

Abe declared a state of emergency in Japan last week, which initially applied to parts of the country, but has since been expanded across the nation, the AP reported.

Residents have been asked to work from home, if possible, and for businesses to be closed in a bid to curb the spread of the virus which has seen a recent spike in cases in parts of the country, including the Japanese capital of Tokyo. The month-long lockdown will be in effect until May 6.

Hospitals in Tokyo have been overloaded with a growing number of cases. Patients with mild or no symptoms were expected to be transferred from hospitals to hotels and other venues to make space for more severe cases, Tokyo's governor, Yuriko Koike, confirmed last week.

Urging residents to keep travel outside the city to a minimum, Koike told reporters last week: "It will cause inconvenience in daily life, but I call on everyone to cooperate, because lives are at stake."

Japan has so far managed to avoid the explosion of cases that its neighbors in Asia, China and South Korea, have seen. Japan has reported around 6,750 cases to date, including 108 deaths, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

ただ、皆さんのこうした行動によって、多くの命が確実に救われています。そして、今この瞬間も、過酷を極める現場で奮闘して下さっている、医療従事者の皆さんの負担の軽減につながります。お一人お一人のご協力に、心より感謝申し上げます。 pic.twitter.com/VEq1P7EvnL

— 安倍晋三 (@AbeShinzo) April 12, 2020

But Tokyo has seen an increase in its daily number of cases over the past few days, according to the latest figures from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Abe noted last week: "We are not at a stage where rapid nationwide spread is being observed, but some areas are under pressure, so we don't have the luxury of time.

"To relieve that pressure there will have to be a transformation in people's behavior. Preventing an explosion in cases, saving people in serious conditions and protecting you and your loved ones depends on how we change our behavior," he said.

Last month, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which were originally due to take place this July, were postponed due to the ongoing pandemic.

Tokyo coronavirus April 2020
Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing, the World Health Organization (WHO) advises. Getty Images

The COVID-19 virus, which was first detected in Wuhan, China, has infected more than 1.7 million people across at least 185 countries and regions. The U.S. remains the epicenter of the outbreak, with nearly 530,000 cases, as of Sunday.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the spread of COVID-19 across the globe.

coronavirus, map, covid-19, countries, world
A graphic provided by Statista shows the global spread of the new coronavirus. Statista

Data on COVID-19 cases is from Johns Hopkins University unless otherwise stated.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.