Avigan still awaits Japanese approval as coronavirus cure

TOKYO — The approval of Avigan, a candidate drug for treating coronavirus infections, has been postponed by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare until June or later.

The delay has dashed the hopes of many, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who previously said that he “will aim for approval by the end of May.” It comes as the anti-flu drug’s effectiveness as a coronavirus treatment has yet to be proven.

In the meantime, Avigan will continue clinical trials and research.

Health minister Katsunobu Kato said at a news conference on Tuesday that the ministry had “assumed” Avigan would be

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A ruinous depression awaits if we don’t up our game on testing

Given the difficulties the UK has faced in achieving even the present, inadequate scale of testing and tracing, this might seem a tall order. Yet it cannot be beyond the wit of the private sector to answer the call.

Against the damage currently being inflicted on economies, almost any cost is going to seem trivial.

“If we contrast a non-specific policy of social distance with a targeted policy guided by frequent testing that is equally effective at containing the virus,” says Romer, “how much more disruptive is the non-specific policy? Answer? Way more disruptive.”

What Romer’s simulations show is that

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Japan’s State Guest House silently awaits return of VIPs

TOKYO — The grounds of Akasaka Palace stand empty here at a time of year usually full of tourists, as the gates remain closed to both high-profile visitors and everyday tourists alike.

Although the closure is a precaution amid the coronavirus outbreak, the downtime at the State Guest House is being used to refurbish the palatial building, and add new features, in preparation for the eventual return of guests.

The neo-Baroque structure, styled after Paris’s Palace of Versailles, lies at the end of a footpath bound by rows of tulip trees. The halls of the State Guest House, known as

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School on Saturdays awaits many of Japan’s students after outbreak

TOKYO — With many Japanese schools closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, local governments in some of the hardest-hit areas plan to shorten summer vacation and hold Saturday classes to help students catch up once the buildings reopen.

Forty-seven of 52 local governments surveyed last week by Nikkei, covering 13 prefectures designated as coronavirus hot spots and the 23 wards of Tokyo, said they will revise operations at public schools once classes resume. The others said they will consider this option in the future, or are waiting to see how long the pandemic lasts.

Japan’s schools have struggled to adapt

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