Japan Panel OKs Virus Emergency Expansion amid Delta Spread

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Tokyo, Aug. 17 (Jiji Press)--A Japanese government advisory panel Tuesday approved the government's plan to add seven prefectures to its novel coronavirus state of emergency list as the highly contagious delta variant is spreading rapidly nationwide.

The panel of experts on basic coronavirus response policy measures also gave its consent to the government's proposal to put 10 more prefectures in the COVID-19 pre-emergency stage.

The additional emergency and pre-emergency designations will be effective from Friday until Sept. 12. The number of prefectures on the emergency list will rise to 13 from six and that on the pre-emergency list will increase to 16 from 13.

"We'll thoroughly limit the number of visitors to department stores, shopping malls, specialty shops and other large-scale commercial facilities with a floor space of over 1,000 square meters" in order to curb the flow of people in emergency and pre-emergency areas, economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who leads the government's coronavirus response, said at the panel's meeting.

"We'll strongly urge people to reduce the number of times they visit congested places by half," Nishimura said. "For example, we'll ask people to halve the frequency of going shopping."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press