Japan brings back COVID-19 restrictions over omicron surge

20-Jan-2022 Intellasia | JapanTimes | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Japan is set to approve new coronavirus restrictions for a large swath of the country, including Tokyo, on Wednesday as it battles record infections fueled by the omicron variant.

Final approval from the government is expected later in the day, but on Wednesday morning experts backed placing 13 prefectures “under quasi-emergency measures from January 21 to February 13,” Daishiro Yamagiwa, minister in charge of Japan’s coronavirus response, told reporters.

The 13 prefectures are: Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Gunma, Niigata, Gifu, Aichi, Mie, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Nagasaki and Kagawa.

Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures are also considering doing the same, with plans for the governors to hold discussions later Wednesday.

The move allows each region to decide what specific measures to carry out, but local media said the restrictions were likely to include shorter opening hours for bars and restaurants and possible restrictions on alcohol sales.

The highly infectious omicron variant is driving a resurgence in coronavirus cases, with daily nationwide infections topping 30,000 for the first time ever on Tuesday.

Japan has still been less hard hit than many countries, with around 18,400 deaths in the pandemic while avoiding strict lockdowns.

But government officials and experts are worried that rising infections could put pressure on the country’s medical system.

Three prefectures Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Okinawa are already under the quasi-emergency after surges in cases linked to US military bases.

More than 78 percent of Japan’s population is fully vaccinated, but the programme began later than in some other developed countries.

So far, just 1.2 percent of the population has received a booster shot.



Category: Japan

Print This Post

Comments are closed.