Japan seeks to extend COVID emergency curbs in Tokyo, other areas

Japan's government said on Thursday it plans to extend emergency COVID-19 restrictions in Tokyo and other regions in a bid to curb infections and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed, saying it is still too early to let down its guard, Reuters reported. 

Japan has been struggling with a fifth wave of the virus and last month extended its long-running curbs until Sept. 12 to cover about 80% of its population.

However, the number of severe cases and the strain on the medical system have not eased sufficiently in Tokyo and surrounding areas to allow the restrictions to be lifted.

The government will seek to extend the measures until Sept. 30, including for the capital Tokyo and the second city of Osaka, Economic Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told a government meeting. The plans must be ratified by a panel of experts and others.

"We need to reinforce the medical system by reducing infections," Nishimura said.

Some signs of improvement around the nation mean that two prefectures out of 21 will move from the state of emergency measures to lesser restrictions, while a number of other prefectures will remove all restrictions, he added.


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