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Seven more prefectures to be placed under COVID-19 state of emergency

  • August 18, 2021
  • , All national papers
  • JMH Summary

All national dailies wrote that the GOJ formally decided at its coronavirus taskforce headquarters meeting on Tuesday to place Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Shizuoka, Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukuoka under a state of emergency from Aug. 20 through Sept. 12 and extend the ongoing state of emergency for Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Osaka, and Okinawa beyond the previous end date of Aug. 31 to Sept. 12. The GOJ separately declared a quasi-state of emergency for Miyagi, Yamanashi, Toyama, Gifu, Mie, Okayama, Hiroshima, Kagawa, Ehime, and Kagoshima for the same period.

 

Prime Minister Suga said at the meeting that Japan is seeing an “unprecedented” rise in coronavirus cases nationwide due to the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 and that providing life-saving medical care is the government’s top priority as hospitals are under increasing strain due to a surge in patients with severe symptoms. The premier later told reporters that the government will decide when to lift the emergency declaration by taking into account such indicators as the ratio of vaccinated people, the number of seriously ill patients, and hospital bed occupancy instead of the number of new cases.

 

Suga called on the public to reduce outings to crowded places by 50% in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 and asked companies to help reduce the number of commuters by 70% through teleworking and other measures. While agreeing on the need in the future to consider legal options to bolster the government’s measures to prevent infections by limiting people’s activities, the premier expressed a cautious view about the idea of Japan implementing the kind of lockdowns that have been imposed in other countries. Omi Shigeru, an infectious disease expert who is the nation’s top COVID-19 adviser, also told reporters that it may become necessary for the GOJ to establish a new legislative framework that will enable the government to impose tougher restrictions on people’s movements. The governors of Osaka and Kanagawa expressed disappointment by saying they had hoped the central government would declare more drastic measures similar to lockdowns to limit the flow of people.

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