Tokyo [Japan], May 16 (ANI): Japan enforced tougher measures against the coronavirus in six prefectures from Sunday amid a surge in infections ahead of the Summer Olympics, imposing an expanded state of emergency in three of them and a quasi-emergency in three others.
According to Kyodo News, Hokkaido, Okayama and Hiroshima joined Tokyo and five other prefectures already under a state of emergency to May 31, while a quasi-emergency currently covering seven prefectures was expanded to Gunma, Ishikawa and Kumamoto until June 13.
Tokyo will host the Olympics from July 23. Concerns are growing over the spread of more infectious coronavirus variants and the sluggish vaccine rollout in the country.
In areas placed under the state of emergency, restaurants are being told to close by 8 pm and refrain from serving alcohol or offering karaoke services.
Department stores and other major commercial facilities are also being told to temporarily shut or close early, and attendance at concerts and sports events has been capped at 5,000 or 50 per cent of venue capacity.
The move comes as coronavirus cases have been on the rise nationwide in recent weeks, with the daily number of new infections topping 6,000 for the fifth straight day on Saturday. COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms also hit another all-time high of 1,231 the same day.
Almost half of Japan's 47 prefectures have reached Stage 4, the worst level on the government's four-point scale, for the volume of weekly infection cases per 100,000 people, Kyodo News reported.
It further reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency, the third since the start of the pandemic, in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo from April 25 to May 11, later adding Aichi and Fukuoka from Wednesday and extending it to May 31. (ANI)