Japan government gets new anti-flu powers

April 12, 2013

Japan's government on Friday gave itself new powers aimed at curbing the outbreak of infectious diseases, as the country nervously watches the spread of deadly H7N9 bird flu in China.

Under a new law, if the virus mutates and becomes transmissible between humans, the government would set up an emergency headquarters, strengthen quarantine activities at airports, and vaccinate doctors and government officials.

Local officials will also have the power to order the cancellation of events at which large numbers of people are expected to gather and to shutter schools.

If the government foresees a rapid increase in the rate of infection, the prime minister will also be empowered to declare a state of emergency, with the option to vaccinate the entire population.

Norihisa Tamura told reporters: "We have drafted a law that would have the government take effective measures in places where lots of people gather."

The plans come as the death toll from H7N9 in China reached 10 out of 38 human cases with another victim in Shanghai on Thursday.

Beijing announced on March 31 that it had found the strain in people for the first time.

The virus is believed to spread to humans from birds, triggering the mass of poultry in several Chinese cities.

Experts fear the prospect of such viruses mutating into a form easily transmissible between humans has the potential to trigger a pandemic.

The (WHO) said earlier this week that there was as yet no evidence of human-to-.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on Thursday said H7N9 bird flu posed an "exceptional situation", explaining that the virus, while dangerous to humans, was hard to detect in the avian host.

Explore further: Animal health agency: Bird flu poses 'exceptional situation' (Update)

Related Stories

Animal health agency: Bird flu poses 'exceptional situation' (Update)

April 11, 2013
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on Thursday said H7N9 bird flu posed an "exceptional situation" as the outbreak among Chinese poultry claimed a 10th human victim.

Death toll hits 10 in China bird flu outbreak

April 11, 2013
The death toll from H7N9 bird flu in China reached 10 on Thursday with another victim in Shanghai, as cities banned people from raising chickens at home to try to contain the outbreak.

US health authorities in bird flu vaccine effort

April 5, 2013
US health authorities are liaising with domestic and international partners to develop a vaccine for the H7N9 bird flu virus that has killed five people in China.

H7N9 bird flu cases set to climb, but no pandemic: WHO

April 3, 2013
The number of cases of H7N9 bird flu in China looks set to climb as experts identify previously unexplained infections, but a lack of human-to-human transmission means a pandemic is not on the cards, the World Health Organisation ...

WHO plays down China bird flu fears

April 2, 2013
The World Health Organisation on Tuesday played down fears over a strain of bird flu which has killed two people in China, but said it was crucial to find out how the virus infected humans.

4-year-old boy recovers from new bird flu in China

April 10, 2013
(AP)—A 4-year-old boy has recovered from a new strain of bird flu that has killed nine people in China, a doctor said Wednesday, as the country's premier said the outbreak was under control.

Recommended for you

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.