Osaka Prefecture Signals Coronavirus Red Light

Politics Lifestyle

Osaka, Dec. 3 (Jiji Press)--The Osaka prefectural government on Thursday signaled a "red light" over the COVID-19 situation in the western Japan prefecture and asked residents to avoid going out for nonessential reasons from Friday through Dec. 15.

The red light means an emergency under the prefecture's own standards on assessing the epidemic situation. The prefecture's landmark Tsutenkaku Tower and Tower of the Sun, located in the Expo '70 Commemorative Park, were lit up in red on the day.

The move followed a surge in the number of severely ill COVID-19 patients in the prefecture. The occupancy rate for hospital beds for severely ill patients in Osaka stood at 66 pct on Thursday.

The supply-demand balance for medical services in the prefecture is "becoming very tight," Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said at a meeting of the prefecture's coronavirus response headquarters. "After signaling the red light, we'll take measures to protect people's lives," he said.

The prefecture introduced the own epidemic-assessing standards in May and issued a "yellow light" on July 12.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press