Japan Prolongs COVID-19 State of Emergency as Cases Surge

TOKYO – Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga extended Japan's fourth coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Osaka and Okinawa until Sept. 12 and added seven prefectures to the list due to a surge in cases caused by the Delta variant.

Suga announced the extension of the emergency measure previously set to expire at the end of August, and the inclusion of Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Shizuoka, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka on Friday during a meeting with the government's COVID-19 response task force.

“The top priority is to build a medical system to save the lives of patients. We will focus on securing beds, establishing oxygen stations, actively using neutralizing antibody drugs, vaccination, etc., and thoroughly implement infection control measures such as controlling human flow by teleworking,” the Japanese premier said.

Under the declaration, dining establishments that serve alcoholic beverages or offer karaoke are asked to suspend their operations, while those not serving liquor are requested to shut at 8 p.m.

Japan on Tuesday logged 19,955 new infections, with Tokyo confirming 4,377 cases.

The Paralympic host nation administered a total of 111,050,989 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Aug. 16. - Florenda Corpuz

(A woman wearing a face mask walks past the Nakamise shopping street in Tokyo’s Asakusa district on Aug. 7. Photo by Din Eugenio)