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Japan Poised to Extend Virus Emergency to May 31, NHK Says

CoronavirusMay 07, 2021 11:26
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2/2 © Bloomberg. Pedestrians wait to cross a road in the Yurakucho District of Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, April 25, 2021. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a new state of emergency running from Sunday to May 11 in Tokyo, Osaka and two other prefectures, imposing some of the toughest measures yet to control a surge in virus cases. 2/2

(Bloomberg) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is set to extend a virus state of emergency that includes Tokyo to the end of May and expand it to cover two more regions hit by rising case numbers, public broadcaster NHK said Friday.

The move, which comes less than three months before the capital is set to host the Olympics, will add the industrial region of Aichi and the southern prefecture of Fukuoka to areas subject to restrictions. With Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo and Kyoto already under the state of emergency, most of Japan’s major urban areas will be covered. Milder restrictions will be extended or applied in eight other regions, NHK said.

Suga declared Japan’s third state of emergency beginning April 25 and initially scheduled to end May 11, but its effect on reining in case numbers has been modest. A slow vaccine rollout has left the premier with few tools to control the pace of infections.

Alongside the extension, the government is considering revisions to the restrictions that are being applied under the emergency, according to various media reports. Bars and restaurants are banned from selling alcohol, and spectators are excluded from major sporting events under the current emergency restrictions.

Among the regulations being considered are having large commercial facilities such as department stores that had been asked to close, being allowed to operate shortened hours and close at the weekends, according to reports in the Sankei and Mainichi newspapers.

Other reports said large events would be limited to 5,000 people, and that venues would have to operate at half-capacity and close by 9 p.m., NHK said. The ban on serving alcohol will be extended to cover eateries that allow customers to bring in their own alcoholic drinks, the broadcaster said.

Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is in charge of Japan’s virus response, is set to seek advice from an expert panel Friday, and Suga will make the formal announcement on the extension later in the day.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Japan Poised to Extend Virus Emergency to May 31, NHK Says
 

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