The commander of the United States Forces Japan on Monday announced a public health emergency for the Kanto Plain “due to the steady increase” of novel coronavirus infections in nearby Tokyo.
The declaration, which will remain in effect through May 5, gives commanders the authority to enforce compliance of health protection measures on those who live and work on all U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine installations and facilities located on the Kanto Plain, the largest lowland in Japan that covers more than half of the eastern Kanto region, including Tokyo.
“Protecting the health and safety of everyone associated with U.S. Forces Japan is my number one priority,” Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider, U.S. Forces Japan commander, said in a statement Monday. “I cannot underscore enough the importance of personal responsibility at a time like this. Stopping the spread of COVID-19 requires the entire team — service members, civilians, families, and our Japanese partners.”
The announcement comes as the daily count of new COVID-19 cases in the Japanese capital have jumped in recent days, from 78 on March 31 to 143 on Sunday, according to data published on the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s website.
Last month, an active duty member of the U.S. Forces Japan tested positive for COVID-19.
In total, 1,033 people have tested positive for the disease in Tokyo and 30 of them have died, according to the government’s website. A count kept by Johns Hopkins University show’s Japan’s nationwide tally is up to 3,654 diagnosed cases and 85 deaths.