All national dailies wrote that the GOJ officially decided yesterday to declare a COVID-19 quasi-state of emergency for Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Shizuoka, Aichi, and three other prefectures from Sunday through Aug. 31, bringing the total number of prefectures subject to the measures to 13. In authorizing the quasi-state of emergency declaration earlier in the day, some members of the coronavirus taskforce subcommittee reportedly called for the entire nation to be placed under a state of emergency because of the extremely rapid spread of the Delta variant not only in metropolitan areas but also in rural prefectures. However, during a press gaggle last night, Prime Minister Suga, while admitting that the virus is spreading at an “unprecedented rate” in many parts of the country, dismissed the possibility of a nationwide state of emergency.
Meanwhile, the nationwide tally of COVID-19 cases on Thursday hit a record high of 15,263. Seven prefectures reported record numbers of new cases, including Tokyo (5,042), Kanagawa (1,846), Saitama (1,235) and Chiba (942). Close to 70% of the Tokyoites who tested positive were in their 30s or younger.