State of emergency extended for Tokyo area

NHK -- Mar 06
The Japanese government has extended a state of emergency imposed to contain the coronavirus for two more weeks in Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures of Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa.

At a news conference on Friday evening, Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide said, "We've decided to extend the state of emergency until March 21. That timeframe is necessary to contain the spread of infections, as well as to assess the situation more carefully."

The measure has been in place since January 7. It was due to end on Sunday.

Suga said criteria including daily new cases and hospital capacity have improved in the region, but not enough.

There were more than 300 cases confirmed in the capital on Friday. The daily tally has been declining, but the rate is slowing.

The number of cases in the week through Friday exceeded the week before for the first time since mid-January.

Suga again called on the public to cooperate, saying, "We will maintain current measures such as shortened business hours for restaurants, a voluntary ban on nonessential outings, and more working from home. These have proven effective. Together with local governments, we will continue to strongly encourage these measures."

The prime minister added that the government will step up efforts to prevent cluster infections by carrying out tests at about 30,000 elderly care facilities and other locations by the end of the month.

Suga also spoke about the hospitality industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.

He said his administration will maintain expanded wage subsidies and other financial programs.

- NHK

菅総理大臣は緊急事態宣言の延長にあたって記者会見を行い、花見や歓送迎会などでの感染対策を呼び掛けました。  菅総理大臣:「2週間は感染拡大を抑え込むと同時に、状況をさらに慎重に見極めるために必要な期間です。当初、約束した3月7日までに宣言解除することができなかったことは大変申し訳ない思いであり、心よりおわびします。春は卒業式、入学式、歓送迎会など人生の節目であるとともに、お花見など、人が集まる機会も多くあります。今回、そうした機会であっても大人数の会食は控えて頂きますようお願いします」  菅総理はまた、感染状況を把握するため今月末までに全国で3万カ所の高齢者施設での検査を行うほか、無症状者のモニタリングのため都市部で大規模なPCR検査を実施する方針を打ち出しました。  一方で、延長期間の感染対策については飲食店の時短営業や不要不急の外出自粛を呼び掛けるにとどめました。 - ANNnewsCH