Japan expands state of emergency
The Japanese government decided to expand its second state of emergency over the coronavirus to seven prefectures across the country. This is in addition to Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures that were originally included in the measure that took effect on January 8.
The seven prefectures will be covered under the state of emergency declaration starting January 14.
Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide explained that the expansion is necessary to turn the severe situation around. The cumulative number of coronavirus infections confirmed in Japan surpassed 300,000 on January 13. Suga said the government will do everything possible to tackle the pandemic and asked for people’s cooperation in the effort. He added that while the state of emergency is in place, Japan will halt the entry of foreign business travelers from 11 countries that had been exempt.
The seven additional prefectures are Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo in western Japan, Tochigi in eastern Japan, Aichi and Gifu in central Japan and Fukuoka in southwestern Japan. Along with Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama, the pronouncement in 11 prefectures is scheduled to run through February 7.
The government is asking restaurants and bars in the affected areas to shorten business hours and close by 8 p.m. It also encourages people to work remotely from home and avoid making nonessential outings at any time, especially after 8 p.m.