Japan declares state of emergency in Tokyo amid Covid resurgence

at 7:14 pm
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New Delhi (NVI): Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga today declared a one-month state of emergency in Tokyo and surrounding areas, with tougher measures to fight a recent COVID-19 resurgence.

The second state of emergency will come into effect from Friday till February 7, which will cover the capital and three neighbouring prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba, according to the reports.

Suga at a news conference said that, “I’m very alarmed by the severe situation nationwide recently…as the number of COVID-19 patients has been extremely high. Please take this matter seriously as your own, to protect all precious life, your grandparents, family and friends.”

Under the new measures, restaurants and bars have to stop serving alcohol by 7 pm and close by 8 pm, while gyms, department stores and entertainment facilities will also be subject to shorter operational hours.

Meanwhile, events will be capped at 5,000 people or 50 per cent of venue capacity.

Suga further ordered companies to reduce office populations by 70 per cent and encourage their staff to work from home or stagger their shifts. “These new measures are more relaxed compared to those under the previous state of emergency,” he added.

Th emergency declaration came as Tokyo reported a record 2,447 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, breaking the previous record of 1,591 infections.

Earlier, a state of emergency was declared in Tokyo and six other prefectures on April 7 last year, which was later expanded to cover the whole country before being lifted in late May.

Since the beginning of the pandemic earlier last year, Japan has registered more than 2,66,900 coronavirus cases and 3,649 deaths, the John Hopkins University data shows.