Japan increases health alert level in eight more regions

Tokyo, Aug 5 (EFE).- Japan approved Thursday the application of additional measures in eight regions to contain the increase in coronavirus infections, which is reaching record levels throughout the country in recent days.

Measures, which will mainly affect bars and restaurants, will apply to prefectures in the north, the center and the west of the country, and will add to the state of health emergency already in force in Tokyo and five other regions while the capital hosts the Olympic Games.

Japan decided to raise the alert level in the new affected regions, albeit without declaring an emergency, which is the maximum level within the legislative tools available.

Practically half of the country’s 47 prefectures will be under some type of health alert, measures that will be in force at least until the end of the month due to the increase in infections been observed throughout the country since mid-July.

“In many areas of the country, we are seeing a rapid increase at an unprecedented speed,” Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan’s minister in charge of the pandemic response, said at the executive meeting with the committee of health experts that advises.

Tokyo registered 5,042 new infections Thursday, a new maximum of daily cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Across the country, infections exceeded 14,000 the day before, also a record number.

Most of these new infections, around 90 percent, are caused by the delta variant of the virus, considered more infectious.

Nishimura also said the number of hospitalized patients with severe symptoms has doubled in the past two weeks, putting pressure on the healthcare system.

Authorities of each prefecture must apply in each case the measures they deem necessary to stop contagion, although in most cases they will focus on limiting the opening hours of bars, restaurants or karaoke bars and on prohibiting the sale of alcohol. EFE


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