TOKYO (AP) – With more than 1.2 million people infected with the new coronavirus, the UN chief has called for “home peace” – all homes – out of fear that domestic violence will worsen as the social and financial toll of the pandemic intensified.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described “a horrific worldwide upsurge in domestic violence” in recent weeks. Following his call on March 23 for an immediate ceasefire in all armed conflicts, he said it was time to call for an end to all violence, “everywhere, now.”
“For many women and girls, the threat is most important where they should be safer – at home,” said Gutteres in his statement. “And so I’m making a new appeal today for peace at home – and in homes – around the world. “
He also noted that health care providers and the police were overwhelmed and that other options to help the victims were too many or unavailable, as communities cut back on services during closures to fight the pandemic.
“I urge all governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women a key component of their national response plans to COVID-19,” said António Guterres.
Authorities in Japan considered Monday declaring a state of emergency. Infections are soaring in the country’s third-largest economy and its oldest population, and reports indicate that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to declare an emergency on Tuesday in Tokyo and other cities. His government is also expected to announce a $ 550 billion economic package to finance measures against coronaviruses and support businesses and jobs.
Japanese officials say they cannot impose a strict lockdown like in China or parts of Europe, a government restriction that is in part a legacy of Japan’s fascist history until the end of the Second World War.
Most of the measures contained in Abe’s statement would be requests and instructions, and opponents would not be punished. But such requests would put major psychological pressure on people to comply.
Tokyo reported more than 100 cases on two consecutive days for a total of 1,033 on Sunday. Nationally, Japan has more than 4,000 cases, with more than 80 deaths.