Osaka Seeks Coronavirus State of Emergency


Osaka, April 20 (Jiji Press)--The Osaka prefectural government Tuesday asked the Japanese government to declare a fresh state of emergency over the novel coronavirus for the western prefecture, where new infection cases are surging.

"As the local medical system has been extremely strained, we want the central government to issue an emergency declaration as early as possible," Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura told reporters after a meeting of the prefecture's novel coronavirus response headquarters.

He also said that the prefecture is talking with the central government on requesting a wide range of local businesses, including large commercial and entertainment facilities, such as department stores, shopping malls and cinema complexes, to temporarily shut if the state of emergency is declared. Also under study are plans to request the cancellations or postponements of events, he said.

The prefectural government has presented to the central government three options as to requests to eating and drinking establishments--temporary closures on both weekdays and weekends as well as holidays, closures on weekends and holidays plus shorter operating hours until 8 p.m. on weekdays without serving alcoholic drinks, and shorter operating hours until 8 p.m. on all days without serving alcohol.

"Although those countermeasures involve restrictions on private rights, we have to curb the flows of people," Yoshimura said. "The fresh state of emergency should be in place for three weeks to a month," he said, adding, "We want to seek financial support from the central government, including compensation."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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