Japan expands COVID-19 state of emergency

NHK -- Jul 31
Japan's coronavirus state of emergency has been extended and expanded to include three of Tokyo's neighboring prefectures and Osaka.

Speaking to a news conference on Friday night, Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide said, "the coronavirus is spreading at an unprecedented speed."

He added, "as the more transmissible Delta variant rapidly becomes dominant across the country, there are concerns that the infection could spread further."

The new declarations take effect Monday. Existing emergencies in Tokyo and Okinawa will remain in place, while five more prefectures will go under a quasi-state of emergency.

The prime minister called on the public, especially young people, to take the latest outbreak seriously. Suga is urging people to heed warnings, and restaurants and bars to continue following the rules.

Health authorities say Japan logged more than 10,000 new cases again on Friday. But the recent daily death toll has remained below 20.

Suga said that's largely because over 70 percent of seniors have been fully vaccinated. He said inoculation is the best tool to fight the pandemic. And he pledged that 40 percent of the public will have had the required two jabs by the end of next month.

The emergencies will run through the end of August.

Consequently, the Olympics will end and the Paralympics begin under these stricter anti-virus measures. - NHK