Okinawa Asks State for Coronavirus Emergency

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Naha, Okinawa Pref., May 19 (Jiji Press)--The Okinawa prefectural government on Wednesday asked the central government to put the southernmost Japan prefecture under its ongoing third novel coronavirus state of emergency.

The prefecture decided the state of emergency request at a meeting of its coronavirus task force on the same day, concluding that Okinawa needs to beef up its measures against the virus amid a spike in the number of new infection cases after the country's Golden Week holiday period between late April and early May.

"Infections are spreading almost across the prefecture," Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki, now visiting Tokyo, told reporters after joining the task force discussions online. "The speed of the original virus being replaced by variants is accelerating."

Kiichiro Jahana, vice governor of Okinawa, told a press conference after the meeting, "Okinawa's medical system is in a perilous situation that the prefecture has never experienced before," adding, "If infections spread further among our elderly citizens, lives that could be saved will not be."

As part of measures taken until the prefecture is placed under the state of emergency, Okinawa decided to issue its own medical state of emergency.

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Jiji Press