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Two people walk on a snow-covered street in Sapporo, Hokkaido, on Thursday. Image: REUTERS

Hokkaido declares state of emergency over virus

By Mari Yamaguchi

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I think that's going too far. People have to go out to buy food and work. Shops have to open, trains and buses will be running and all flights to and from Hokkaido have not been canceled.

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

I don’t think its going too far at all!

Imagine if it got to Tokyo or Osaka or another densely populated area and became viral person to person?

Stopping the spread, closing schools and educating everyone and making sure all facilities help out is crucial

2 ( +11 / -9 )

This should be fun!

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Wow that was a pretty quick rise considering 2 weeks ago it was only 2, whom are the deceased. This is not good at all.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Hokkaido Gov Naomichi Suzuki said the emergency will continue until mid-March

He puts a limit on the emergency, that's a bit all grandiose, even for a politician.

1 ( +5 / -4 )


I don't think it's going too far. Remember, the virus has an incubation period of 2 to 14 days. That means it's hard to know when exactly someone contracted the virus and how many other people they have passed it on to. Also, the amount of cases in Hokkaido have almost tripled in a little over a week.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

smartacusToday  07:31 pm JST

I think that's going too far. People have to go out to buy food and work. Shops have to open, trains and buses will be running and all flights to and from Hokkaido have not been canceled.

It's not going too far at all. It's not like a martial law lockdown. As you say people will be doing what they "have" to do, but avoiding things they don't have to do. Supermarkets will be open as will transportation.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

What is the distance between Hokkaido in japan and the nearest Chinese entry point to japan ???. Hokkaido is in snow and Singapore is at 38 degree C. Yet the virus is spreading...................................in the 2 countries could it be something else ???.that is the carrier ???. Like the food & water supply chain ???. Like the animals movement ???. or ???.......................

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Despite this, transmission may go on and some unnoticed due to a longer subclinical stage. It will be hard to decide when to lift the emergency measure. A likely scenario is that Covid-19 will continue to survive if not spread, and re-surge just like another virus living side by side with humans. Hopefully proper vaccine will be ready by the time, and people become on alert but much smarter.

A positive side effect for defense guideline targeting Covid-19 is appearing when people start practicing regular hand-cleaning and facial mask-wearing; the cases of seasonal flu this time in Japan have been decreasing significantly. Perhaps adaptation not annihilation is a key for survival.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Hokkaido in February isn't exactly a place where you can open the windows and get some fresh air. It's cold! So people congregate in heated places like the huge shopping area under Sapporo Station. It's in this kind of place that this virus would just take off. There is still so much we don't know about this virus. People who had been infected and cured have tested positive again a few weeks later. I think the governor is quite right to declare an emergency.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

You guys do know that this Virus isn't half as dangerous (currently) as media suggests ?

the Flu kills ~650.000 People each year, Corona kille less then 3000 since December (so within about 2 month) while people are usually the weakest in the cold month (and most of them beeing Chinese while people from "most" other Countries that have proper HealthCare usually don't die) so you can assume that in the warmer times there will be even less deads.

Just calculatin 5000 in 2 Month would still only be about 30.000 within a year compared to 650.000

New Viruses are definietly dangerous because we don't know them but people tend to overreact

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

So, no travel in and out of Hokkaido?

That is the only way to contain and reduce cases .....

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Suzuki is a young Governor in a tough spot trying to show leadership. I mentioned it last night on his media address to inform the public of the death of an elderly gentleman in Hokkaido due to coronavirus but with a pre existing medical condition. The Governor looked quite shaken but stoic in his response. I wish him and the people of Hokkaido well.

Could PM Abe stop worrying about his urges, poll numbers and the Olympics and start getting people tested for Coronavirus!?

There's a reason why South Korea has over 2000 virus cases now...it's because people are getting tested there.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Hokkaido declares state of emergency over virus

The Governor seems to be saying try and top this Abe.

0 ( +3 / -3 )


You guys do know that this Virus isn't half as dangerous (currently) as media suggests ?

What you don't know is that you have no idea what you are talking about. Your calculations prove it. You are thinking linearly. Do a little googling to learn about exponential growth and R0, then come back and let's have an intelligent conversation.

As for "proper healthcare", that falls apart when a health system is overwhelmed. Hence why it is so important to do everything we can so slow the spread.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

is it really that bad?? seems like they are going too far. china really has it, but in japan? i thought they had it under control.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

The central government sent a team of experts to investigate this week

The same experts they sent to the boat? We are all doomed!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I don’t know why people can’t just mostly stay home for a week or two to let this pass.

2 ( +5 / -3 )


That mindset is how epidemics happen, try to ignore the issue and downplay how bad it can get.

By the time that mindset is ready to get serious the city has to be on lock down like Wuhan is.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Hokkaido absolutely doing the right thing. And closing schools is also the correct thing to do. It's the only way to stop individual clutters of cases from merging and then really spreading throughout the entire population. I actually think they not going far enough. If these measures don't work to halt the spread, then expect harsher ones (just saw on the news).

The bad news is that already there are runs on shops for tissues and toilet paper. Next will be the frozen and tinned foods. Well, stay one step ahead of them folks. Worst is to come.

2 ( +3 / -1 )


There's a reason why South Korea has over 2000 virus cases now...it's because people are getting tested there.

You're so correct. People just don't get it. We are already in a pandemic.

Looking at numbers of cases in Japan, the numbers are far too low. Let's take Osaka for example. The City has just 2 confirmed cases.

Regarding testing capacity, their limit is supposedly 90 people per day. Their record: 32!

The reason is that already the gospitals are overloaded with people displaying symtoms. Doctors want them to be tested but have to send them home after being informed it is beyond the city's capacity to test all those showing symtoms. Only if you are almost dying, will they test you.

Good luck everybody!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

There's been a mass scramble for Toilet paper here in my neck of the woods within Central Tokyo, no Shops have any left. Seems that some TV program suggested there was going to be a shortage, so hoards of people went out this morning and cleared the shelves. Hope you have some left!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It was just reported an Englishman from the cruise ship has died.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Quercetum...I just heard the same

@Youkai - Year after year after people have been infected with colds and flu on cruise ships and have gotten sick. This is the first year I have heard of so many deaths.

Something is not right about this virus, the way it is reinfecting people, apparently it has been transmitted to a pet dog in Hong Kong.


There is more and more evidence and a lot more people who you would not put in the "conspiracy camp" that are saying there is a high possibility this came from a lab, either a virus that was being used for research or which has been weaponized. Furthermore the relative silence from China the past 2 weeks is also disconcerting.

I am not sure if the Hokkaido Governor Suzuki is right or not at this point but he is making decisive decisions that do not seem to be agenda or politically motivated. I respect him for this.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ir's not looking good for Hokkaido right at the moment, this was how South Korea started unfolding.

Hopefully, the locals will temporarily put away their 'あずましい' motto and be more cautious and alert to the risks.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In this case, its better to over react then to under react. Truth is, no one really knows how to react because this pandemic is a first in terms of modern medicine. I understand that many people are worried about the economy because their jobs are dependent on it, but lets not put financial gains ahead of human life.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As I have posted before, there are many doctors in many hospitals that are very aware of this new virus. However, there are no testing kits available for them to test for Nocov-19.

Hence a patient will simply contract pneumonia, the lungs will fill with fluid, and their respiratory functions will fail. The cause of death will be listed as pneumonia.

Where hospitals begin to fill up there won’t be enough pathologists time do autopsies and the bodies will be whisked off to the nearest crematorium...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@kurisupisu - this is true. Hopefully the 30 min. test developed in Kanagawa prefecture will be approved and be proven effective.

As a point of reference there are only 200 test kits in my home state of California.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

(Hokkaido) has seen a steady increase in the number of patients, with the pace accelerating in recent days

In the same time period, the number of cases in Tokyo has hardly changed, at least according to official statistics.

And if anyone actually believes those official statistics, especially given that they're not approving tests for everyone including even people with clear symptoms, then I have a bridge to sell you.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Imagine if it got to Tokyo or Osaka or another densely populated area

It probably already has.

But since they're not testing everyone, including even people who are showing symptoms, there are probably more cases out there than the government knows about or wants to admit. A lot more.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Good and decisive. What happened in Japan is related to what will happen in the world. In that sense, Japanese people, Korean people and Chinese people are doing favours for people of the earth.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )


R0 is only tells how contagious a virus is. It is just a mere measuring unit. Is it as fatal? I doubt so. There's no evidence of it being more fatal than the past outbreaks we have had.

Current data points to R0 higher than seasonal flu, maybe significantly so. Current fatality rate of 2% makes it 20 times more fatal than seasonal flu. Those two things combined, if those numbers remain the same, make it potentially far more serious than the seasonal flu. Both of those numbers can be influenced by the actions we take now. The fatality rate will depend a lot on the level of treatment patients are able to receive. Better treatment = lower fatality. Wouldn't you say it's better to try to slow the spread and reduce the fatality rate?

3 ( +3 / -0 )


I believe Zichi means that more people have died from covid-19 than from SARS. Although mortality rate is far lower than SARS, the death toll is higher and not done yet.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is necessary temporarily to get the situation in order, to take measures to contain the spread of the virus. In Japan the new cases are on the lower end, but it doesn't mean we should be careless and not take steps to protect the public.

I support this measures, its a tough situation with no easy quick fix, it can be scary but it's temporary, it will pass.

In this terrible misfortune we have an opportunity as well to have stronger relations, to learn how to work together in tough situations with our biggest neighbor, economic friend, important partner for East Asia future. Standing together is not only the right thing to do... Is the human thing to do, it's in Japan's interest.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The media is so irresponsible. They report a shortage, and the stupid Japanese lemmings jump over the cliff and create one.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Extreme measures are needed here. Japan only has a few months to get things under control and restore consumer and travel confidence for the 2020 Olympics. Having to cancel this event would be disastrous. $30 billion invested not to mention the opportunity lost for financial gain. Of course this is all secondary to the health and safety of those currently in Japan including my son.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The corona virus morality rate is higher than for the previous SARS.

False ! SARS was 9.5% and currently COVID-19 is 2%. The latter is expected to diminish as the number of cases increases. I know it's easy to mix up %'s but still ... Let's not spread unnecessary fear.

US CDC: Also, COVID-19 rarely effects children, and when it does, it is usually quite mild.


-1 ( +0 / -1 )


I think a lot of people just get the language a little wrong. Some say mortality rate, when they mean death toll. The fact that the mortality rate of covid is a lot lower than SARS does not mean it is not something to be alarmed about. The death toll from covid is already almost 4 times that of the entire SARS outbreak.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

False ! SARS was 9.5% and currently COVID-19 is 2%. The latter is expected to diminish as the number of cases increases. I know it's easy to mix up %'s but still ... Let's not spread unnecessary fear.

So far 84000 are known to contracted it and nearly 2800 deaths, so the percentage is actually 3%, so a lot higher.

Also, of the cases that have been resolved (recovery or death) the percentage dead is 18%.


So please, understand the actual data. In addition, this is highly infections - the numbers getting infected are rising rapidly. It has only slowed in China because of the drastic steps they have taken.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The percentage numbers being banded about are not accurate. The “boat” has shown us many passengers testing positive but showing very mild symptoms. Normally these people would not seeking medical help. There are probably many, many more people in China and other countries with the virus than stated. The death rate outside China is much lower due to better healthcare

Numbers can be deceiving.... Last years influenza death toll in Japan is stated as 3,400.

However, this is the number of deaths credited to influenza on death certificates. The real number is actually closer to 10,000. Pneumonia deaths as a direct result of influenza are recorded as pneumonia not the initial cause.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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