Japan Decides Pre-emergency Expansion as Delta Variant Rages

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Aug. 5 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government decided Thursday to expand the list of prefectures in the COVID-19 pre-emergency stage, prompted by the continuing spread of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.

The pre-emergency list will newly include eight prefectures--the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima, the eastern prefectures of Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma, the central prefectures of Shizuoka and Aichi, the western prefecture of Shiga and the southwestern prefecture of Kumamoto--from Sunday.

Including the eight prefectures, a total of 13 prefectures will be kept in the pre-emergency stage until Aug. 31.

"In many areas including the (Tokyo) metropolitan area, infections are spreading at a pace that we haven't ever experienced," Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said at a meeting of the government's coronavirus response headquarters.

"The delta variant is believed to be far more infectious than the original strain," the prime minister noted. "We ask people to refrain as much as possible from going out for nonessential reasons, visiting their hometowns or making other trips during this summer."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press