All national papers wrote that the GOJ has informally decided to place Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Shizuoka, Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukuoka under a state of emergency from Aug. 20 through Sept. 12 on account of the explosive rise in coronavirus infections. The ongoing state of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka, Okinawa, and three other prefectures will also be extended by almost two weeks through Sept. 12. The GOJ will separately declare a quasi-state of emergency for Miyagi, Yamanashi, Toyama, and seven other prefectures for the same period.
As some 60% of the 47 prefectures will soon be under a state or quasi-state of emergency, Prime Minister Suga told the press last night: “At a time when the unprecedented spike in infections continues, it is extremely important to build a robust healthcare system. I had discussions [with relevant cabinet ministers] on how to dramatically expand antibody cocktail treatment.” He also disclosed that payments to doctors who are willing to take care online for COVID-19 patients recuperating at home will be doubled in order to deal with the relentless rise in the number of such patients. The premier dismissed mounting criticism that he has failed to stem the resurgence by saying: “The Delta variant is raging. As I have said, my foremost responsibility is to proceed with vaccination at top speed.”