Japan govt. to respond to 10,000+ new COVID cases

NHK -- Jul 30
Japan has confirmed more than 10,000 daily coronavirus cases for the first time. The nationwide record is fueled by a surge of infections in the capital and surrounding area.

That spike has the central government looking to expand the current emergency declaration to include four more prefectures.

Prime Minister Sugar Yoshi hide said, "The government is dealing with the situation with a strong sense of urgency. At the request of local governments, I decided to call a meeting of experts on Friday to discuss the state of emergency and quasi emergency measures meant to curb the virus's spread."

Tokyo and Okinawa are under a state of emergency, while four other prefectures have less restrictive "quasi-emergency" measures in place.

The government plans to expand the emergency to include Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa and Osaka.

If the plan becomes final, five other prefectures are expected to enter a state of "quasi-emergency."

Under the restrictive measures, restaurants in Hokkaido, Ishikawa, Hyogo, Kyoto, and Fukuoka Prefectures will be urged to stop offering alcohol.

Both types of states of emergency will likely be in effect between August 2 and the end of this month.

Tokyo's case count topped 3,800 on Thursday, continuing a record-breaking upward trend.

One expert within the Metropolitan Government called it an unprecedented, explosive surge.

The head of the government's expert panel is also concerned.

Government advisory panel chief Omi Shigeru said, "Now, there are barely any factors that could curb the number of infections."

Omi warned that Japan's health care system will soon be overwhelmed unless society shares a sense of crisis. - NHK