The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is asking the national government on Wednesday evening to declare a state of emergency, to counter the increase in new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and to significantly reduce the number of people out during the upcoming “Golden Week” holidays. In its discussions with the national government, the metropolis is proposing that the state of emergency lasts from this Sunday, April 25 to May 9 or May 11. (This year’s string of Golden Week holidays runs from April 29 to May 5, although many people take the entire work week off before or after the official holidays.)
The metropolis is considering asking large commercial facilities such as department stores, shopping malls, and amusement parks close temporarily. Bars and restaurants may also have to shorten business hours as they have during previous states of emergency.
Osaka has already requested the central government to issue a new state of emergency for its prefecture, which had a record 1,242 new cases on Wednesday. Hyogo prefecture has also requested a state of emergency, and Kyoto prefecture is considering to request one as well. Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide stated that the central government will work closely with local officials.
Japan confirmed 5,291 new infections on Wednesday, which marks the first time in three months that the daily number of cases has been over 5,000. The daily case tally in Tokyo reached 843 on Wednesday, its highest tally since January 29 during the second state of emergency.
The Japanese government declared the previous state of emergency in Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures of Saitama, Kanagawa, and Chiba on January 8. The Japanese government then expanded the state of emergency to seven more prefectures on January 13. The state of emergency was planned to end on February 7, but was extended until March 7 in Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Aichi, Fukuoka, Gifu, Saitama, Kanagawa, and Chiba prefectures.
The Japanese government lifted in February the previous state of emergency declaration in Aichi, Gifu, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukuoka. The state of emergency in four prefectures in the Tokyo area — Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama — continued until March 7 as previously planned. The state of emergency covered eight of Japan’s 10 most populous prefectures and over half of the nation’s population.
Japan started its COVID-19 vaccination plan on February 17, prioritizing medical workers. The second phase of the plan started on April 12 for elderly people.
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