People in 13 Prefectures Asked to Stay on High Alert over Virus

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, May 9 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government on Saturday called on residents of 13 prefectures where special alert for the novel coronavirus is requested to continue efforts to reduce interpersonal contact by 80 pct.

The government is concerned about the possibility of citizens in the 13 prefectures--Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Osaka, Hyogo, Fukuoka, Hokkaido, Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Gifu, Aichi and Kyoto--relaxing their social distancing efforts.

The country marked the first weekend on Saturday after the government extended its nationwide state of emergency over the epidemic through May 31. The state of emergency, declared on April 7 for seven prefectures with surges in infection cases and expanded to cover all 47 prefectures of the nation on April 16, was originally slated to end on Wednesday, the final day of the Golden Week holiday period.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, health minister Katsunobu Kato and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga held a meeting at the prime minister's office to examine the current situation.

After the meeting, Nishimura told a press conference that foot traffic in downtown areas in Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka before the holiday period was down 80 to 90 pct from normal levels. According to latest data, however, it was down only 60 to 70 pct, he said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press