Japan Declares Month-Long State of Emergency to Stem Soaring COVID-19 Cases

TOKYO – Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Thursday has declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and three other nearby prefectures that will last for a month in an effort to curb soaring COVID-19 infections.

The declaration, which will be in effect from Friday until Feb. 7, will also cover the prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama.

Residents in the affected areas will be requested to refrain from unnecessary outings after 8 p.m.

Eating and drinking establishments will be asked to stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m. and close an hour later.

Shopping malls, gyms and other entertainment facilities will also be subject to the shorter business hours.

Schools will not be closed.

Companies will be urged to promote telework to reduce office attendance by 70 percent.

Japan’s first state of emergency was declared in April 2020 that stretched to May 25.

On Thursday, Tokyo reported a record 2,447 new COVID-19 cases. - Florenda Corpuz