13 Japan Prefectures Issue Declarations on BA. 5 Fight

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Aug. 5 (Jiji Press)--Five more prefectures in Japan issued on Friday declarations for strengthening measures against the rapidly spreading BA.5 omicron subvariant of COVID-19.

The five are Miyagi, Niigata, Gifu, Mie and Okayama. Tochigi, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Aichi, Kyoto, Kumamoto and Kagoshima have already issued such a declaration.

"The biggest aim (of the declaration) is to reduce burdens on hospitals," Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai told a news conference. He called for people with suspected COVID-19 to do self-antigen testing if their symptoms are mild.

Okayama Governor Ryuta Ibaragi said that the hospital bed occupancy rate in the prefecture rose sharply in the past one to two weeks. "We couldn't wait any more," he said of the declaration, requesting elderly people to refrain from going to congested places.

Officials in some other prefectures doubt the effectiveness of such declarations as they are not accompanied by strict restrictions such as asking restaurants and bars to shorten operating hours.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press