Tokyo: Japan is set to extend the state of emergency over the raging Covid-19 pandemic, as Tokyo and other surrounding areas continue to register a high number of confirmed cases, according to authorities.
The final decision on whether to extend the current state of emergency in 11 of the country’s 47 prefectures beyond February 7 will be made next week, reports Xinhua new agency.
However, a local media report on Saturday quoted a source close to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga as saying that eight of the 11 prefectures are subject to an extension, covering Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka.
Suga said on Saturday that he needs to “observe the situation a little more” before making a decision.
The extension may range from another three weeks to one month, according to the local media report.
The country’s second state of emergency, first declared for Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures on January 7, was expanded to seven other prefectures six days later.
The emergency state included measures such as calling on the public to avoid unnecessary outings and urging food and drink service facilities to shorten their operation hours.
The Japanese government is considering adding Okinawa prefecture where the coronavirus has continued to spread on remote islands to areas subject to the state of emergency.
Meanwhile, the government will consider lifting the emergency in Tochigi prefecture north of Tokyo, as new confirmed cases have dropped significantly.
For a prefecture to lift the state of emergency, its Covid-19 situation must improve from Stage 4 which indicates the worst level on the government’s four-point scale.
The standard to determine the stages is based on six key indicators, including the weekly number of infections per 100,000 people and the percentage of available hospital beds for infected patients.