Japan to Expand Coronavirus Emergency to 4 More Prefectures

Politics Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, July 30 (Jiji Press)--A panel of experts gave its consent Friday to the Japanese government's plan to place four more prefectures under its ongoing novel coronavirus state of emergency, which covers Tokyo and the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa at present.

The four prefectures to be added to the emergency list are Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa, all neighboring Tokyo, and Osaka in western Japan. They will be under the measure between Monday and Aug. 31. The emergency for Tokyo and Okinawa, which is now slated to end on Aug. 22, will be extended until the end of August.

The government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will make a decision on the steps at a meeting of its COVID-19 response headquarters, scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Friday (8 a.m. GMT), to be followed by a press conference by Suga from 7 p.m. The state of emergency is based on a special law on the fight against the novel coronavirus.

New infection cases have been on the rise in many parts of Japan while the Tokyo Olympic Games are taking place. On Thursday, the number of new cases in Tokyo totaled 3,865, hitting a record high for the third straight day. Across the country, a record 10,699 people tested positive for the virus, with the daily count topping 10,000 for the first time.

"We have a very strong sense of crisis over the coronavirus epidemic as the highly transmissible delta variant is increasingly becoming a dominant strain in the country," Yasutoshi Nishimura, who leads the government's response to COVID-19, said at the meeting of the experts' panel.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press