Japan Considers New State of Emergency in Tokyo, 3 Neighboring Prefectures
posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced during a press conference on Monday that the national government is considering declaring a state of emergency in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures due to the high rate of new infections of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In addition to Tokyo, the state of emergency would apply to Saitama, Kanagawa, and Chiba and take effect as early as this week.
The national government indicated that stage and film theaters will not be subject to additional restrictions. However, the prefectures have already planned to ask residents to refrain from nonessential outings after 8:00 p.m. They are also planning to ask establishments that serve alcohol to close before 8:00 p.m. every night from January 8 to January 31, and restaurants that do not serve alcohol to close before 8:00 p.m. every night from January 11 to January 31.
The prefectural governors had requested that the central government declare a state of emergency on January 2, after Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures had record high rates of new daily infections throughout December and the first days of the new year.
If declared, this would be the second time these prefectures will be under a state of emergency during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, after an almost two month-long nationwide state of emergency from early April to late May last year.
The Cinema Sunshine theater chain already announced on Saturday that it will temporarily halt advance ticket sales for screenings on Tuesday and beyond in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures, in light of the recommendation by the prefectural governors to the central government for a state of emergency declaration. People can only buy tickets at the affected theaters on the day of the screening, if the theaters are open.
Tokyo reported 884 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday — the highest number on a Monday so far. That brings the overall total number of cases to 63,474. The government classifies 108 patients as seriously ill.