Tokyo: Japan`s government today 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.
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