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Japan’s coronavirus numbers have been ticking up, sparking alarm that it could be the next major country to see an explosive jump in infections. It’s also raising questions about whether Tokyo, where cases have tripled over the past 10 days, is about to go into a European-style lockdown — speculation the government is trying to squash. Even if Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declares an emergency, due to civil liberties enshrined in Japan’s postwar constitution the government cannot send police to clear people off the streets, as has happened in places including France, Italy and the U.K. The country’s strongest enforcement measure could be public obedience — and that may be enough.

1. Is Japan about to declare an emergency?

Japan’s ruling party politicians say: “No.” As of Wednesday, Japan had the fewest confirmed infections among Group of Seven leading economies at about 2,000 –compared to about 188,000 in the U.S. — despite being one of the first countries outside of original epicenter China to get confirmed cases. Abe’s government has said what could tip the scales would be infection numbers shooting up and strains appearing in the medical system. While Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has called for the government to make a decision, Abe said Wednesday there was no need to declare an emergency at this point.

2. What would an emergency declaration mean?

If Abe were to declare an emergency in a particular region, the main effect would be to increase the powers of the prefectural governor. The prevalence of the virus varies widely among the 47 prefectures. Under an emergency, a governor would be able to urge local people to avoid unnecessary outings, but residents would have the right to ignore the request, and there are no penalties for disobedience. Police wouldn’t be involved in enforcement, according to lawyer Koju Nagai of Answer Law Office in Kobe. While Koike warned last week that a “lockdown” could be coming, she cannot in fact restrict individuals’ movements. Businesses could be asked to shut down, and ordered to do so if they don’t comply with the request, but again there are no penalties for non-compliance. Punishments are, however, specified for a small number of offenses, including hiding supplies that have been requisitioned by local authorities.

3. Will people obey the requests?

The governors of Tokyo and surrounding prefectures asked people who didn’t need to be out to stay home last weekend and many did just that. A poll published by the Nikkei newspaper Monday showed 83% of respondents said they were avoiding going out, compared with 43% a month ago. Streets were mostly empty in the capital. Movie theaters shut down and businesses that stayed open saw fewer customers. In what could be seen as a partial success, the number of passengers on the Yamanote line that runs around central Tokyo fell by 70% on year, the Nikkei newspaper reported. Of course, there were people who ignored the requests, underscoring the limits of the powers of persuasion in a public health crisis.

4. What could be the economic hit?

The directive last weekend led companies including Starbucks Corp., retailing giant Aeon Co. and movie theater operator Toho Co. to temporarily shut some outlets. More businesses would likely follow suit if a request came again, but Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura on Tuesday warned that a lockdown of Tokyo or Osaka would deal a blow to the economy. The Tokyo metropolitan area alone accounts for about one-third of the country’s gross domestic product, which would make it the world’s 11th largest economy. Banks are expected to remain open under any emergency declaration, and the Tokyo Stock Exchange said it will continue to operate.

5. Could Japan eventually take a harder line?

While England has just introduced a fine of about $75 for individuals breaching lockdown rules and Hong Kong warned residents of prosecution for violating quarantine measures, any attempt to add teeth to the Japanese law would raise hackles in the country, where painful memories of early 20th century authoritarianism linger. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations opposed the legislation under which an emergency can be declared, even though most of its stipulations cannot be enforced. “Emergency situations were misused a great deal in Japan before the war,” said lawyer Nagai. “Japan was hurt by that in the past. Freedoms were limited, and once those freedoms are limited, it’s hard to restore them.”

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Fears surrounding the coronavirus has led to the shortage of sanitizers globally, prompting many brands to begin producing hand sanitizer in an effort to help with the deficit. Estee Lauder is the latest company to switch from cosmetics to hand sanitizer, following beauty and fashion conglomerates L’Oreal and LVMH.

According to WWD, Estee Lauder is planning to reopen its manufacturing factory located in Melville, NY to produce hand sanitizer for medical staff. Lauder’s announcement comes on the heels of the company pledging to donate a $2 million grant to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, to support the organization’s work in treating the coronavirus in countries that lack the resources and have been severely impacted.

“The Estée Lauder Companies is proud to contribute to the broader COVID-19 relief efforts by reopening our Melville manufacturing facility this week to produce hand sanitizer for high-need groups and populations, including front-line medical staff,” a spokesperson for the company told the outlet. “We are grateful to our employees who have worked tirelessly to make this possible. Compensated, employee volunteers will support this vital, meaningful effort.”

Fellow beauty behemoth L’Oreal announced last week that it would be producing hand sanitizer for hospitals and pharmacies in Europe, in addition to halting all debts owed to them by small and medium-sized businesses due to the pandemic.

“In this exceptional crisis situation it is our responsibility to contribute in every possible way to the collective effort,” Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oréal chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Through these gestures, L’Oréal wishes to express its appreciation, support, and solidarity with all those who mobilize with extraordinary courage and abnegation to fight against this pandemic.”

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The coronavirus case count is surging as testing capacity increases worldwide, as the global case count surges past 800,000 and deaths near 40,000 Tuesday. The U.S., which continues to lead the world with more than 170,000 cases, is seeing nearly half of its cases come from New York, with 75,000 positive cases as of Tuesday.

The mounting numbers in the Empire State, especially in New York City, are casting a dark shadow over the country’s health-care system as the city attempts to contain the contagion. Many health workers report that there are not enough supplies, forcing them to make hard choices about whom should be saved.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined a number of possible solutions to the ventilator shortage in a press briefing on Tuesday, includes splitting ventilator tubes so two people can use the same machine, as well as repurposing similar devices, such as anesthesia machines, to act as ventilators.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who is overseeing the second-highest outbreak in the country at more than 18,000 cases, is also concerned about his state’s ability to respond the crisis. Murphy said he is focused on pushing for Congress to add more federal aid for the state in phase four of a stimulus package being worked on in the coming month.

“The numbers of positive cases will continue to rise, sadly, so will the fatalities,” Murphy said.

In an announcement Monday evening, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a number of regulatory changes to ease the burden on provider mandates for reimbursement, such as allowing patients to be triaged in a number of settings outside the hospital, including rehabilitation hospitals, dormitories and hotels.

In addition, the department is allowing lab technicians to travel to a beneficiary’s home to collect a swab or specimen for COVID-19 tests, and, under certain circumstances, “hospitals and other entities will also temporarily be able to perform tests for COVID-19 on people at home and in other community-based settings,”said administrator Seema Verma.


Markets were choppy Tuesday as the increased economic pressure of an extended stay-at-home policy weighs on businesses.

Crude oil futures especially took a hit, posting the largest single-quarter decline in a decade, at 66%. This mirrors the activity across markets, looking at significant lower first quarters than they have seen in decades.

[Read more: Stock market news live: Dow posts worst quarterly drop since 1987, oil slumps]

A number of companies are pivoting to respond to the U.S. efforts to respond to the outbreak, including Jockey, which was highlighted at Monday’s White House briefing, for making masks for frontline health workers. MyPillow was also congratulated for its efforts by Trump.

MyPillow CEO Michael Lindell told Yahoo Finance Tuesday that the company shifted to making masks within three days.

“We’re trying to get everybody back safely to their jobs, but first we have to make our brave people at the hospitals … make them safe,” he said.

Meanwhile, retailers continue to announce plans to furlough employees as stores remain closed, the latest including JCPenny (JCP) and Macy’s (M).

Walmart, meanwhile, has announced it is changing its shopping experience to one-way aisles in order to support social distancing measures. It also plans to scan employees’ temperatures at all stores and some distribution centers, as well as providing protective gear for warehouse workers.

This comes a day after Amazon took some heat from workers who staged a walkout in Staten Island.

Anjalee Khemlani is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @AnjKhem

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U.S. President Donald Trump may be considering lifting social restrictions to ease the downward pressure on the economy due to the new coronavirus, named COVID-19, but a former NATO commander is strongly advising against it.

“I think the president needs to be listening carefully to our medical professionals,” former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade, later adding: “Once you’ve done that, then it’s perfectly appropriate to listen to the economic side.”

So far, 591 people have died of coronavirus in the U.S. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)So far, 591 people have died of coronavirus in the U.S. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

While the White House had previously announced guidelines to slow the coronavirus, from practicing good hygiene to working from home “whenever possible,” Trump has also been increasingly pushing back against health care experts.

“This is a time when we shouldn’t operate from our gut instincts, which is what the president has a tendency to do,” Stavridis said. “Sometimes that works for him, sometimes it works less well. Here, I think we need to base our determinations on science, medicine… that’s going to require listening to the experts and following expert advice.” 

Trump v. health care experts

Trump argued that restrictions should be loosened in the coming weeks, as the U.S. economy takes a massive hit and markets are in turmoil.

“Our country wasn’t built to be shut down,” Trump told reporters on Monday. “This is not a country that was built for this. America will again and soon be open for business. Very soon. A lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting.”

On Tuesday, he pointed to Easter Sunday, April 12.

Trump has also claimed, without evidence, that an extended period of closure could result in “probably more death from that than anything that we’re talking about with respect to the virus.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks as US President Donald Trump listens during the daily press briefing on the Coronavirus pandemic situation at the White House on March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. - The coronavirus outbreak has transformed the US virtually overnight from a place of boundless consumerism to one suddenly constrained by nesting and social distancing.The crisis tests all retailers, leading to temporary store closures at companies like Apple and Nike, manic buying of food staples at supermarkets and big-box stores like Walmart even as many stores remain open for business -- albeit in a weirdly anemic consumer environment. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks as US President Donald Trump listens during the daily press briefing on the Coronavirus pandemic situation at the White House on March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. - The coronavirus outbreak has transformed the US virtually overnight from a place of boundless consumerism to one suddenly constrained by nesting and social distancing.The crisis tests all retailers, leading to temporary store closures at companies like Apple and Nike, manic buying of food staples at supermarkets and big-box stores like Walmart even as many stores remain open for business -- albeit in a weirdly anemic consumer environment. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

His health care experts disagree. 

“If you look at the trajectory of the curves of outbreaks and other areas, at least going to be several weeks,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on March 20. “I cannot see that all of a sudden, next week or two weeks from now, it’s going to be over. I don’t think there’s a chance of that.”

Aarthi is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. She can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @aarthiswami

Read more: 

  • House Democrats unveil bill to cancel $30,000 in student debt per borrower amid coronavirus

  • Coronavirus student loan relief: Education Department says borrowers can ask for a payment pause

  • Student loan reform group sues Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger

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Uncovering the best bodysuits in the world may seem like a bizarre task, but bear with us. While we were obsessed with one-pieces in the ’90s, they were always a little uncomfortable. But recently, the humble T-shirt has been threatened by the reinvented bodysuit for the number one spot in our wardrobes.

That’s right: The classic garment is back. This time, the staple has been re-created in chic, pretty fabrics that are more suited to sophisticated women. One look at the Hadid sisters and the Kardashian-Jenner family makes it easy to see why it has become a wardrobe mainstay. So why are bodysuits so in-demand right now? They instantly smooth out your figure, and they always come in form-fitting fabrics that give you a sleek silhouette.

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There’s always that one hero piece that rises to the top each season. It’s the one item that you continuously (and subconsciously) opt for, the item that never fails you, and the item that magically seems to go with just about everything. It’s never pre-planned—it just happens. Your hero piece not only becomes a mindless everyday wardrobe staple but also adds comfort and confidence to your outfits. Candidly, as a New Yorker, my wardrobe staples consist of a range of items in varying shades of black, effortless basics (think trench coat, straight leg denim, and sneakers), and a large tote handbag. And this season, it’s all about the black cardigan.

Cardigans are really having a moment right now, whether it’s a chunky “grandma” cardigan with floral embroidery or a cropped ribbed knit cardigan with dainty, pearl buttons. Due to its versatility, the black cardigan has easily established itself as my wardrobe front-runner. Paired with a pencil skirt and platforms or layered over a classic white button-down finished with a blazer, the styling options are truly endless—and fun. Opt for simpler looks or go all-in with layering and mismatched pairings.

These looks prove that black cardigans are proving to be the new white T-shirt. Yes, I said it. Keep scrolling to discover 11 different and affordable black-cardigan outfits.

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Simply put, French-girl style is where it’s at. For many (myself included), that “je ne sais quoi” approach to dressing is just so highly covetable. As a result, I highlight Parisian fashion on the regular to inspire those similar sartorial sensibilities. In fact, I recently covered the styling tricks that makes one of the coolest French girls I follow, Aïda Sané (the mastermind behind @basicstouch), look even more French. This time, though, I wanted to tap her to dive into the spring trends she’s loving and also not loving as much.

Given that she has a chic minimalist style, I was particularly curious about the simple yet chic looks she’s loving. And given her adoration for more pared-back silhouettes, there were some more out-there trend counterparts that she “doesn’t understand” as much for her personal style. (Keep in mind, however, that this is all based on individual preference and you should always wear what you personally love.)

To showcase all of this further, keep scrolling to check out the five spring trends Sané will and probably won’t wear this season (for now, at least).