2nd LD: Japan's PM expands state of emergency to 7 more prefectures

13 Janvier, 2021, 17:42 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • COVID-19 Japan extends state of emergency

Suga's announcement comes less than a week after he declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and three nearby prefectures.

The total number of coronavirus cases reported in Japan is 298,334, while the death toll stands at 3,962, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

The emergency declaration, covering 55% of Japan's population of 126 million, is set to last through February 7 and is much narrower in scope than the first one last spring.

The areas affected range from central Aichi, an industrial and commercial hub, to Fukuoka in the southwest, and Osaka, which has reported record new cases in recent days along with neighbouring Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures. Under the second state of emergency, declared nine months after the first, some service providers such as department stores and some entertainment facilities are also likely to cut their operating hours. The government has warned it will disclose the names of businesses that do not cooperate.

Fewer people than in a normal year walk in Kyoto, western Japan, on January 13, 2021, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In an effort to help the struggling services sector, the Government had previously encouraged citizens to travel domestically and dine out by offering generous subsidies.

A poll by Japan's public broadcaster NHK found similar numbers wanted the Games to be cancelled or delayed.

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The 2020 Olympic Games originally slated for July of previous year due to the coronavirus pandemic are now on target to begin on July 23rd.

Japan made it through earlier surges in infections without a lockdown, but experts and officials warn that people are growing worn out and are becoming less cooperative than before.

Although - unlike most places in the world - the law does not now allow authorities to enforce these requests, the government is planning legislation to fine businesses that do not comply.

Japan Medical Association President Toshio Nakagawa said at a news conference Wednesday that medical systems in the country have been collapsing, with regular daily treatment at many hospitals compromised due to the growing burden of coronavirus patients.

Japanese coronavirus measures have relied heavily on widespread mask wearing, contact tracing and other safety measures.

Experts have also raised concerns about cases of more contagious variant of the coronavirus that has spread across Britain.

The four people are in their teens and 40s and were detected by the country's airport quarantine checks after arriving at Tokyo's Haneda Airport earlier this month.

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