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Singapore wields legal power Japan lacks to force social distancing

Meeting friends in city-state can now cost you $7,000 or 6 months in jail

SINGAPORE -- Japan and Singapore both stepped up their coronavirus containment measures on Tuesday, aiming to dramatically reduce social contact between citizens. A vast gulf, however, separates them when it comes to enforcement and the consequences for those who defy the orders.

Singapore began a four-week period of restraint, during which nonessential workplaces and schools will be closed and residents will be expected to stay home as much as possible. An order implemented on Wednesday, based on a new law passed the day before, includes a ban on meeting friends and relatives.

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