Japan to Expand COVID-19 Quasi-State of Emergency to Most Prefectures

posted on by Alex Mateo
3 prefectures request extension for quasi-state of emergency

The Japanese government is planning to expand the quasi-state of emergency to eighteen more prefectures - including Osaka, Kyoto, and Hokkaido - amid the rise of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in the country due to the new Omicron variant. The quasi-state of emergency would take place from January 27 to February 20. The Okinawa, Yamaguchi, and Hiroshima prefectures are also requesting an extension for their current quasi-state of emergency, which is scheduled to end on January 31. The government is expected to make a decision on Tuesday.

Osaka, Hyogo, and Kyoto had requested a quasi-state of emergency last week. Governor Yoshimura Hirofumi stated that intensive measures will help slow the wave of infections, reducing the strain on the medical system.

The Japanese government declared a quasi-state of emergency in Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Gunma, Kagawa, Aichi, Gifu, Mie, Niigata, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, and Miyazaki prefectures after their respective governors revealed their intentions to ask for the quasi-state of emergency amid the rise of COVID-19. The national government granted the requests from these 13 prefectures from January 21 to February 13.

Japan declared a quasi-state of emergency in Okinawa, Yamaguchi, and Hiroshima prefectures earlier this month, which is scheduled for January 9-31.

Japan reported 44,810 new cases on Monday. The country had exceeded 50,000 cases for the second day in a row on Sunday. In Tokyo, the occupancy rate of hospital beds is above 20%, which is the threshold the Tokyo government views as needed to ask the national government to implement a quasi-state of emergency.

Relatedly, while the government still has a ban on new foreign entrants in place until the end of February, the country does plan to allow 87 foreign students to enter the country as a special case.

Previous quasi-states of emergency, which have less strict guidelines compared to a full state of emergency, have asked dining and drinking establishments to stop selling alcohol, limit their hours, and limit the number of customers. They have also offered some financial compensation to businesses that comply with the guidelines, and they imposed additional anti-virus measures.

Japan last ended a full state of emergency in 19 prefectures last September. That state of emergency started in July (although Okinawa had then already been under a state of emergency for four months).

Source: NHK World (link 2)

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