Okinawa schools close under state of emergency

NHK -- Jun 08
Many schools in Japan's southern prefecture of Okinawa are temporarily closing starting Monday to curb the spread of coronavirus infections.

Okinawa has been under a state of emergency since May 23. Prefecture officials confirmed 183 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday. That's 88 fewer than a week ago, but is the second-highest daily count for a Sunday. Teenagers and younger children made up about 20 percent of total new cases.

Many schools are closing to prevent the spread of infections among children. Prefectural schools, which include high schools and junior high schools, will be closed until June 20, with the exception of four schools in the north and on a remote island, which have few cases.

Elementary and other junior high schools, mostly in the central to southern part of the main island, will also be closed until June 20.

The city of Ishigaki, which is on a remote island and has declared its own state of emergency, closed its schools last Wednesday and will keep them shut through Sunday.

Meanwhile, most municipalities in the main island's northern area and on other remote islands are keeping their schools open.

The surge of coronavirus infections in Okinawa is overwhelming the medical system in the prefecture. Okinawa has the highest number of new cases per capita among Japan's 47 prefectures.