Japan to add Tokyo, other areas to COVID-19 ‘quasi-emergency’ state

Japan to add Tokyo, other areas to COVID-19 ‘quasi-emergency’ state

TOKYO – Japan aims to place Tokyo under a new, month-long “quasi-emergency” state to combat surging COVID-19 case numbers, a minister said on Friday, less than a month after the capital and host of the Summer Olympics lifted a broader state of emergency.

In a meeting with experts, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura proposed a month of targeted restrictions in Tokyo, like reduced business hours for bars and restaurants, along with 24 days of curbs for Kyoto and Okinawa, starting on April 12. That would take the period of restrictions through Japan’s annual “Golden Week” holiday season from April 29 to May 5.

A man wearing a protective face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic walks in a parking lot at a shopping mall in Tokyo.Reuters

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Japan has so far seen far fewer COVID-19 than many Western nations – about 490,000 cases and 9,300 deaths to date, according to the health ministry – but concerns about a new wave of infections

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