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States of emergency: worsening COVID-19 situation in the US, Japan, Malaysia and Ontario, Canada

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Jan 13, 2021 7:31 am

The number of COVID-19 infections and casualties in a number of countries have been continuing without let-up toward alarming record rates, leading some governments to tighten travel restrictions and in some areas impose a state of emergency.

In the US, the daily death toll from COVID-19 hit a new high of nearly 4,470 according to the John Hopkins University. This was the first time that the death toll in the country overshot 4,000 in a day.

New cases also reached 235,000 in a day according to John Hopkins, which was down from a peak of 300,000 in Jan. 8.

Because of the raging pandemic, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now reportedly set to require a negative COVID-19 test for all international air travellers.

In a harrowing glimpse into the increasing toll of the situation on the ground, CNN reporter Sara Sidner found herself breaking down in tears in the middle of a live report.

"Not my proudest moment as a reporter. But I could not hold this back," Sidner said in a tweet about the incident.

In Japan, the government has announced that it would expand a state of emergency from Tokyo to seven more prefectures.

The move comes after the governors of the prefectures concerned requested the government to include their area under an expanded state of emergency for them to impose additional travel restrictions due to growing COVID-19 cases.

In Tokyo, cases have been averaging over 1,000 for the past few days. Despite the situation, the government is intent on pushing through with the Olympics this year.

The king of Malaysia, Al-Sultan Abdullah, has announced a state of emergency across the country to stem the growth of COVID-19 cases.

The government said the declaration may last until August or until new infections are brought under control.

With the declaration, the prime minister and his cabinet can introduce laws without parliament’s approval.

COVID-19 cases in Malaysia hit a record peak of 3,309 on Jan. 12, breaching the 3,000 mark for the first time. 

Ontario, Canada
Ontario—Canada’s most populous province which has over 300,000 Filipinos—has declared a state of emergency after a forecast saw its cases rising almost ten-fold next month.

Reuters reported that the province may see roughly 1,500 more deaths by mid-February under a worst-case scenario, according to government advisers.

With the declaration, a stay-at-home order is put in place that mandates residents to stay indoors except for essential outdoors activity.

"The facts are clear: Cases and deaths are the highest since the start of the pandemic and community spread continues to escalate,” Ontario premier Doug Ford was quoted as saying in a news conference.