Japan will declare a “short and powerful” state of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka and two other prefectures on Friday, as the country is trying to contain a renewed pandemic three months before the opening of the Olympics.
Economy Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi said that under the new state of emergency from April 25 to May 11, the government will require the closure of restaurants, bars and karaoke halls that provide alcohol and hold large-scale sports events without spectators.
He said that violations of restrictions will in some cases be punished under the recently amended law.
He said: “We absolutely must restrict the movement of people, we must act decisively. We need to take strong, short-term and targeted measures.” He asked people to remember the blockade last spring and stay at home.
The new restrictions are expected to be formally approved at a government task force meeting later on Friday and announced by Prime Minister Su Xiu Junxiu at a press conference at 1100 GMT (GMT).
Department stores, cinemas and other commercial facilities over 1,000 square meters will need to be closed, and companies will be required to provide more allowances for people working from home. The school will remain open.
The state of emergency-Japan’s third round also includes Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures-will last until the “Golden Week” holiday, covering nearly a quarter of the population, which has further hit the tourism and service industries.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said at a press conference: “We will require lighting and neon lights to be turned off.”
She said: “It will be dark at night.” She added that she hopes this initiative will prevent people from going out at night. Koike also asked non-residents to avoid entering Tokyo as much as possible.
So far, Japan has avoided the explosive spread of a pandemic that has paralyzed many countries. There are about 550,000 cases and 9,761 deaths in total, which is much lower than the figures in other large economies.
But the latest rise in infections has aroused people’s alarm, the explosive surge of mutants and the severe shortage of medical staff and hospital beds in certain areas, while the vaccination efforts in Japan are still weak.read more
The organizers of the Tokyo Motor Show on Thursday canceled this year’s major events, a move that may raise questions about whether the government insists on the Tokyo Summer Olympics.
Organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics stated on the same day that a police officer working with the torch relay tested positive for the virus for the first time.read more
Kyodo News said, “In order to make the Olympics safer, we must immediately contain this spread and create a suitable environment.”
Tokyo reported 759 new infections on Friday, down from 861 the day before, when the case reached its highest state of emergency since January 29.
Several other counties are still in a “quasi-emergency” state for targeted infection control. Nishimura said that for some areas, the infection period will also be extended to May 11.
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