Japan expands coronavirus state of emergency

NHK -- Aug 20
The Japanese government expanded the coronavirus state of emergency on Friday to cover a total of 13 prefectures. It also increased the number of prefectures under quasi-emergency measures to 16.

Both arrangements will continue through September 12.

The list of areas under the state of emergency now includes seven more prefectures: Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Shizuoka, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka. The emergency declaration has already been in place in Tokyo and Osaka.

Quasi-emergency anti-infection measures are newly taking effect in parts of 10 more prefectures. They are Miyagi, Yamanashi, Toyama, Gifu, Mie, Okayama, Hiroshima, Kagawa, Ehime and Kagoshima.

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide asked the leaders of three major business groups to help reduce people's movements through telework and other steps.

The government is also calling on people to halve their outings to crowded places, such as shops.

It plans to continue making these requests through social media and other means.

The government says coronavirus vaccine rollouts have been effective in lowering the death rate despite high daily counts of infections in recent weeks. The death toll was roughly 400 last month, compared with more than 2,800 last May.

Based on this and other data as well as discussions by experts, the government will likely consider reviewing indices that are currently used to assess infection situations.

The government may look at revised indices to decide when to lift the state of emergency and the quasi-emergency measures. - NHK