Suga planning state of emergency for Tokyo area
NHK -- Jan 05
Japan's government is planning to issue a state of emergency for a second time to contain rising coronavirus cases in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures.

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide said, "The number of new cases in Tokyo and the three prefectures accounts for about half of the national total. We take the situation seriously, and believe a stronger message is necessary."

Government officials plan to issue the declaration as soon as possible this week. It is likely to be in place for around a month.

A state of emergency gives prefectural governors the legal authority to urge residents to cooperate with antivirus efforts.

A woman in Tokyo said, "I've heard that the medical system is beginning to collapse. I think the decision is appropriate."

A man in the city said, "The government should have taken the step much earlier. There's a limit to what small businesses and individuals can do."

The governors of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba prefectures had requested the move.

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko said, "Tokyo and the three prefectures will work effectively and as one on measures on transportation, working from home and flexi-time."

The Tokyo government confirmed 884 new cases in the capital on Monday.

Officials say the number of seriously ill patients reached 108. The figure is the highest to date.

Frontline medical workers say they hope discussions on the state of emergency will prompt people to be more alert.

Professor Hasegawa Hiroshi of Kyorin University Hospital said, "At the very least, we need to curb infection clusters. If there is a surge in the number of infections, we may not be able to sufficiently deal with all the cases. I hope people will think about how to prevent infections once again."

The governors decided to urge residents to stay home as much as possible after 8 p.m. and ask bars and restaurants to close at that time.

A pub manager said, "Considering the coronavirus situation, I can understand that the government needs to take a drastic step. But it's really tough for us."

More than 3,200 cases were reported across Japan on Monday. Over 3,600 people have died since the pandemic began.

菅義偉総理大臣は4日、年明け恒例の総理大臣会見で、東京・神奈川・埼玉・千葉の1都3県を対象に、緊急事態宣言の検討に入ったことを明らかにしました。政府関係者によりますと、8日にも緊急事態宣言の効力が発生する見通しです。 菅総理は、今回の緊急事態宣言は“限定的”としていますが、詳細についての言及はありませんでした。 菅義偉総理大臣:「(Q.飲食に集中するということは、去年4月の緊急事態宣言のように、教育・文化・スポーツ・色々な経済活動すべてを止めるような緊急事態宣言とは違うイメージか?)まず全体としての緊急事態宣言ですが、この約1年のなかで学んできた、どこが問題かということ、これはかなり明確になっています。そうしたことを踏まえて、諮問委員会の先生方に諮ったうえで決定をさせて頂きたい。そういう考え方からすれば、限定的に行うことが効果的」
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
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