Coronavirus pandemic ‘far from over’, says WHO

Japan will place Tokyo and 12 other prefectures under a near-state of emergency from Friday until mid-February amid a rapid rise in coronavirus cases, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday.

The emergency measures will be enforced in Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Gunma, Niigata, Aichi, Gifu, Mie, Kagawa, Nagasaki, Kumamoto and Miyazaki and will be in place until Feb. 13, Kishida said during a government task force meeting on Wednesday.

Okinawa, Yamaguchi and Hiroshima have been under a near-state of emergency since Jan. 9, with measures expected to remain in place until the end of the month.

A bit of context: In a near-state of emergency, local governors can direct dining establishments to shorten their hours and stop serving alcohol. Residents of these areas are also asked to avoid crossing prefectural borders.

Tokyo reported 7,377 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, up 2,192 from the previous day and the highest daily case count of the pandemic, according to local authority data.

On Wednesday, the capital had 10 seriously ill patients, three more than the day before.

Meanwhile, Osaka prefecture in western Japan recorded about 6,101 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, according to local government The data.

Nationwide, Japan recorded 32,087 cases Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In his first policy speech at the start of a regular 150-day Diet session on Monday, Kishida said he would focus on containing Covid-19 in Japan as the Omicron variant fuels a rise in cases nationwide. He asked for the public’s cooperation to win the battle against the virus.

Kishida also pledged on Monday to roll out boosters more quickly, vaccinate young children and ensure medical care services are available for people with severe Covid-19 symptoms, even when cases rise.

Comments are closed.