Japan extends coronavirus health emergency in 9 regions

Tokyo, May 28 (EFE).- The government of Japan on Friday decided to extend the coronavirus health emergency in Tokyo and eight other regions, as the number of infections and pressure on the health system continue to remain high.

The health emergency, in effect in Tokyo since late April and later expanded to other regions, had already been extended once to May 31 and will now remain in place until Jun. 20, just over a month before the inauguration of the Tokyo Olympics.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the measure in a government working-group meeting on the pandemic, highlighting that although the number of cases had dropped across the country since mid-May, the overall level of infections remained high.

The health emergency carries restrictions on the opening hours of bars and restaurants, a ban on serving alcohol and limits on attendance at sports and other public events apart from other measures, although a full lockdown of the population has been avoided

The restrictions have helped reduce daily caseload, but the authorities have remained alert over the risks of a fresh surge, the minister in-charge of the government response to the pandemic, Yasutoshi Nishimura, said on Friday.

Tokyo and Osaka, the two worst-affected prefectures during the ongoing fourth Covid wave in Japan, have also displayed a downward trend in cases despite high infection levels, Suga said, although stressing that in Osaka the medical system continued to be under pressure.

This was the third state of emergency declared by the Japanese government since the beginning of the pandemic, enforced at first in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures from Apr. 25 to May 11.

Later, the government extended the measure to May 31 and expanded it to more regions, with Hokkaido, Aichi, Okayama, Hiroshima and Fukuoka currently being part of the list apart from those listed above.

The emergency, which covers all the important regions of the country in terms of population and economic activity, has also been partially imposed in Okinawa until Jun 20. EFE


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