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Okinawa to ask Japan gov’t to be added to virus emergency areas

19 May 2021 12:27

TOKYO. KAZINFORM - Okinawa Prefecture said Wednesday it has decided to ask the central government to add it to areas under a COVID-19 state of emergency, amid a surge of infections in the southern island prefecture, Kyodo reports.

Currently, 16 municipalities in Okinawa are under a quasi-state of emergency, which allows governors to single out areas with such anti-virus measures as telling restaurants to close early, while the state of emergency covers entire prefectures and carries stricter steps, including the closure of commercial facilities.

On Tuesday, the prefecture reported a record daily new infection cases of 168. Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki said in a statement Wednesday the local health care system has been «in crisis.»

At present, nine prefectures across Japan, including Tokyo and Osaka, are under a state of emergency until May 31. In areas under the emergency, restaurants and bars are told to close by 8 p.m. and refrain from serving alcohol or offering karaoke services.

Department stores and other major commercial facilities are also requested to temporarily shut or close early, and attendance at concerts and sports events has been capped at 5,000 or 50 percent of venue capacity.

Amid its fourth wave of virus infections, 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.