NHK reported that the GOJ coronavirus taskforce subcommittee endorsed earlier today the Suga administration’s plan to place Ibaraki, Tochigi, Shizuoka, and four other prefectures under a state of emergency and ten other prefectures under a quasi-state of emergency from Aug. 20 through Sept. 12. In explaining the reasons for the expanded state of emergency, Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Nishimura stressed that the magnitude of the ongoing outbreak is extraordinary and that the administration shares public health professionals’ view that the current infection situation is equivalent to a massive natural disaster in that the healthcare system is under heavy strain. The minister called for people to stay home, pointing out that numerous cluster infections have been detected at department stores, cram schools, and beauty salons. He underscored the need to limit the number of customers visiting department stores, shopping malls, and other large-scale outlets to reduce people’s mobility. Prime Minister Suga will reportedly address the nation at 9 p.m. tonight to enlist public understanding and support for the administration’s renewed efforts to flatten the epidemic curve.