Minister Urges Public to Avoid High-Risk Activities over Virus

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Aug. 1 (Jiji Press)--Japanese health minister Norihisa Tamura urged the public Sunday to avoid activities involving high risks of novel coronavirus infection, noting that the virus is becoming more contagious.

He made the request in a television program as the government's ongoing COVID-19 state of emergency, which now covers Tokyo and the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, is set to be expanded to three prefectures neighboring Tokyo--Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa--and the western prefecture of Osaka from Monday. The state of emergency will run until the end of August.

Tamura said that the highly transmissible delta variant is responsible for the current rapid spread of infections in Japan.

The mutated strain "is so contagious that we can't reduce infections unless we refrain from high-risk activities more than ever." He also pledged to provide as much support as possible to medical workers on the ground, noting that new infection cases may increase further.

Meanwhile, Tamura cited rapid progress in vaccinations against the coronavirus. "If vaccinations of people in their 40s and 50s make substantial progress, we will see lower risks of COVID-19 symptoms becoming serious," he said, indicating that the government will be able to ease its restrictions on activities gradually in such a case.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press