Roundup: Japan’s Osaka reports record COVID-19 cases, more areas eyed for tougher measures

15-Apr-2021 Intellasia | Xinhua | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Japan’s western prefecture of Osaka Tuesday reported a record 1,099 new COVID-19 infections, surpassing the previous high of 918 logged on Saturday.

The record number of cases in Osaka comes as the central government is now mulling adding Aichi Prefecture to the ever-growing list of prefectures where stricter antiviral measures have been implemented as nationwide infections rebound with vengeance.

On Monday, Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa prefectures were added to the list of regions where tougher virus measures have come into effect under a new law that falls short of declaring a state of emergency, but allows prefectural governors to request bars and restaurants to shorten their business hours and impose fines for non-compliance.

For Kyoto and Okinawa, the stricter measures will remain in place until May 5. Tokyo, the epicenter of the pandemic in Japan, will see the tougher measures last through May 11.

Large venue arenas in the affected prefectures have also had their capacities capped at 5,000 spectators, under the tougher restrictions, that also include the western prefectures of Osaka and Hyogo, as well as Miyagi in Japan’s northeast.

Tokyo’s surrounding prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama are once again being considered for the tougher measures.

Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga said that a decision on the matter could be made this week, although his upcoming trip to the United States to meet US President Joe Biden could see the decision delayed.

With Aichi Prefecture reporting 168 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, Gov. Hideaki Omura said he will ask the central government for permission to impose tougher restrictions prior to the Golden Week of national holidays beginning late April, one of the busiest times of year for Japanese people to travel.

Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura, meanwhile, said he may ask the central government to declare a state of emergency specific to his prefecture where cases have soared past Tokyo’s of late.

Under a prefecture-specific state of emergency, governors would be granted even more powers, such as requesting that bars and restaurants suspend operations altogether.

Japan’s top government spokesperson Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato conceded that the healthcare situation in Osaka is in a “very difficult situation.”

By comparison, Tokyo on Tuesday confirmed 510 new daily infections, while Hyogo booked a record 391 cases.

Nationwide, new infections reached 3,455 according to the latest figures released by the health ministry and local officials Tuesday evening, bringing the country’s total tally of COVID-19 cases to 521,703.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Japan, a total of 9,490 deaths have been attributed to the novel coronavirus in the country.


Category: Japan

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