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Panel Urges Nationwide COVID-19 State of Emergency for Japan Amid New Daily Case Record

posted on by Alex Mateo
8 more prefectures already planned for intensive measures under quasi-state of emergency

The head of the Japanese government's advisory panel on the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Shigeru Omi urged Japan to consider declaring a nationwide state of emergency amid a new daily case record on Wednesday. Japan reported 14,207 new COVID-19 cases, its highest daily count. Japan's total number of infections is 971,904. The country has had 15,246 deaths due to the virus. Omi stated that the virus' Delta variant is a factor in the rising number of infections.

Tokyo reported 4,166 new cases on Wednesday, surpassing the previous record of 4,058 cases on July 31. Tokyo officials stated that 115 people were in serious condition, three more than the previous day.

The government is already planning for eight more prefectures to move to more intensive anti-virus measures in a quasi-state of emergency from August 8 to August 31. The prefectures are Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Shizuoka, Aichi, Shiga, and Kumamoto. A panel of disease experts will meet on Thursday to formally recommend the move.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced on Monday the government's new policy, under which COVID-19 patients without serious symptoms would recuperate at home. Omi stated that more support would be provided for community health care systems, including general practitioners and visiting nurses. He added that more measures are needed to give patients options for recuperation.

Kyoto, Hokkaido, Fukuoka, Hyogo, and Ishikawa moved to more intensive anti-virus measures on Monday, and they will remain in a quasi-state of emergency until August 31.

Osaka, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba went under the stricter full state of emergency starting on August 2 until August 31. In addition, the current state of emergency in Tokyo and Okinawa had its end date extended from August 22 to August 31.

The nation reported 10,699 new COVID-19 cases last Thursday — the first time there were over 10,000 new cases in one day.

Government experts expressed their concerns for a shortage of hospital beds, as new cases have increased about 50% weekly this month, and they project this exponential growth will continue unless measures are taken.

Under the current state of emergency, the government requests events to limit attendance to 50% of capacity or 5,000 people, whichever is less, and to end by 9:00 p.m. The government also requests large facilities such as department stores and arcades to close by 8:00 p.m. and movie theaters to close by 9:00 p.m. — but not close completely as they did in some of the previous states of emergency. The government is offering payments in advance to dining and drinking establishments if they close by 8:00 p.m. and stop serving alcohol. (Previously, the payments came after an application process.)

Sources: NHK World (link 2, link 3), NHK

This article has a follow-up: Japan to Add 8 Prefectures to COVID-19 Quasi-State of Emergency (2021-08-05 11:06)
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