Tokyo recorded more than 70 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday for its highest tally in a single day, as pressure built on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to order a lockdown with a minister saying Japan’s containment strategy was stretched to the limit.Domestic cases topped 2,000, and public broadcaster NHK said 78 cases in the Japanese capital took its tally of infections past 500.A government spokesman said Abe told cabinet members he and his second-in-command, Taro Aso, would no longer attend the same meetings, a move to protect Japan’s leadership from infection that could hamper its battle on the virus. Last week British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was obliged to switch to running the country from isolation after testing positive for the virus.Abe’s move came as Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said Japan was not yet in a situation that required a state of emergency, triggering a potential lockdown, although the situation was precarious.”We’re just barely holding it together,” Nishimura told reporters. “If we loosen our grip even a little, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a sudden surge (in cases).”Infections have now exceeded 770,000 worldwide, with more than 37,000 deaths, as confirmed cases in the United States, Italy and Spain overtake mainland China, where the virus originated late last year. Topics : In Tokyo, there has been intense speculation that a lockdown could come soon, fuelled by rising numbers of domestic cases.The national total edged past 2,000 infections after a center for disabled people in Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo, found seven more infections. There have been 59 deaths, a tally by national broadcaster NHK shows.With limited testing for the virus, doubts linger in Tokyo about how widely it has spread.About 7.1% of nearly 64,000 respondents said they had at least one virus symptom, such as high fever or a bad cough, between Friday and Monday, according to a survey of users in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures run by popular chat app Line and the health ministry.Such symptoms do not by themselves prove infection. But the 4,500 people who reported symptoms in the survey was markedly higher than Tokyo’s official figure of 443 infections by Monday, stirring comment on social media.No binding lockdown Only last Tuesday, with a lockdown already in the offing, Japan and Olympic authorities gave in to intense pressure from athletes and sporting bodies worldwide to delay Tokyo’s 2020 Summer Games for a year, because of the pandemic.Some businesses in the capital are moving to curtail operations even ahead of a lockdown. On Tuesday landmark department store operator Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd said it would close six stores in Tokyo on weekends through April 12.Koshidaka Holdings, an operator of karaoke and hot spring outlets, said it would close 200 karaoke outlets until April 13.But any lockdown in Japan would look different from mandatory measures in some parts of Europe and the United States. Laws limit local authorities to requesting people to stay home, which are not binding.Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has asked residents of the capital to avoid unnecessary outings, while her counterpart in the second biggest city of Osaka feels the national government should declare a state of emergency, media said.The government said it would seek data from wireless carriers, such as statistics on crowd traffic, to help gauge the effectiveness of the voluntary request.A director of Japan’s top organization of doctors urged that an emergency be declared before it was too late.Development of medicines and vaccines would be crucial to contain the virus, Abe told Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, in a telephone call on Monday.Japan intends to promote clinical research on an anti-flu medicine called Favipiravir with other countries as a treatment, Abe said.The drug, also known as Avigan, was developed by Fujifilm Holdings Corp, shares of which closed up 2.2%, after having risen as much as 6.6% in Tokyo.
YANA PASKOVA/Herald photoThe Wisconsin Badgers women’s basketball team looked primed and ready to go for the regular season as they routed the UW-Platteville Pioneers 88-33 Sunday in their final exhibition game.Big Ten 2004 Freshman of the Year Jolene Anderson led the way with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting.Anderson displayed her three-point shooting touch by connecting on 3-of-6 shots from behind the arc and also had a number of nice passes, finishing with three assists.Fellow sophomore phenom Janese Banks once again took the scoring load off of Anderson, chipping in 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting.While the dominating margin of victory is satisfying, head coach Lisa Stone believes that these exhibition games are more about the experience and making adjustments for the regular season than anything else.”There’s certainly benefits from early games,” Stone said. “Again, it isn’t about the score board, it is about the experience and for us to play against new bodies and different offenses … we wanted to try as hard as we could not to look at the scoreboard and worry more about us in staying focused and tenacious, if you will, for the whole game. I think we showed flashes of that, but I do think we let up a little bit in our intensity defensively.”Although the defense is still in need of preparations, the offense looked quite crisp as Wisconsin continues to play its way into the new swing offense that is being implemented this year.”Offensively what I did like is the fact that we shared the ball tremendously well,” Stone said. “We worked for good shots; we didn’t, as we did last Sunday, try to take the first available run-and-gun a lot. We were a lot more patient, got the ball inside to some folks, and put some people in some positions to score at a higher percentage.”Despite the fact that all 12 players on the roster saw at least some playing time Sunday, Stone is aware that she must cut her rotation down to possibly nine players.”Nothing is set in stone, shall we say,” Stone said. “There’s going to be people that are maybe in the regular lineup, but I think that it’s great that it doesn’t matter to our players who starts. It’s a team effort and a team accomplishment.””In that lineup, I have not settled into anything yet,” she added. “I’m not sure I’ll settle in at any time, but obviously you want some continuity, there’s no question. … There’s certain groups that work better together and we’re still trying to find those things out.”Aside from the starting five of Anderson, Banks, Ashley Josephson, Kjersten Bakke and Annie Nelson, senior Jordan Wilson and sophomore Danielle Ward will be two main reserve contributors as they showed their ability to provide a spark of energy off the bench.Wilson was able to score almost at will in the post, finishing with 11 points and seven boards, and Ward continues to show impressive speed for her 6’4″ frame, as she scored 10 points, most of which were off of fast-break points.”(Ward) has slowed herself down as far as her wheels spinning and trying to figure out where to go as a freshman to having a better understanding,” Stone said. “She’s stronger with the ball and one area I don’t want her to slow down is her ability to run the floor. She can get up the floor and catch. She’s long and lanky and just flies by people. That’s a really nice threat for us to have.”