Japan expands state of emergency
Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has expanded the country’s state of emergency to Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Aichi, Gifu, Tochigi and Fukuoka.
The order is now effective in 11 of the country’s 47 prefectures following Suga’s announcement on January 13.
The state of emergency, issued on January 8 for Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures, is set to expire on February 7.
Suga, pictured, says: “A state of emergency is a strong measure that in many ways limits personal freedoms, but one that is necessary if the virus is to be contained.”
He also announced business travellers from 11 countries will soon be denied entry, which means non-resident foreign travellers will effectively be banned from entering Japan.
The country is struggling to contain its third and largest wave of the novel coronavirus – its cumulative total of confirmed cases topped 300,000 on January 13, reports the Japan Times.
Hospitality has been the worst affected sector by the state of emergency, with dining establishments within the designated areas urged to close early.
Other businesses, such as those in the automotive sector, have been able to continue working but residents have been asked to avoid non-essential trips outside.
The first state of emergency was in April and May 2020 and covered the whole country and lasted about six weeks.