The government has decided that the coronavirus emergency in Japan will continue into September 12 and not end at the end as originally planned.
The virus is spreading in the country and the emergency declaration for Tokyo, Osaka and Okinawa (which was issued in July) will be extended.
These measures were in effect during the Tokyo Olympics. Many events took place without spectators. The emergency will continue to be in effect during the Tokyo Paralympics which open on Aug. 24 and end on Sept. 5.
After meeting with other ministers, Prime Minister Yoshihide said that the “surge in infections” reached alarming records.
Suga stated that Tuesday will be the official date. He also said that expanding hospital care is a priority and that those who are waiting for hospital beds at home can get checkups over the phone.
Emergency measures include asking bars and eateries to close at 8 p.m., and not serving alcohol. These emergency measures will be extended to other prefectures, including Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukuoka. They are currently subject to a more severe cautionary “quasi”-emergency.
New cases in many areas are at record highs, hovering around 5,000 most days in the last week in Tokyo.
Governors and mayors from local areas have urged the government to declare larger emergencies in an effort to send a strong message to the people, deterring them from leaving.
Eikei Suzuki is the governor of Mie Prefecture in central Japan. He said that “we feel that the situation has reached an extremly serious and critical stage that puts human lives at risk.”
As the more dangerous delta variant spreads, only about a quarter of the nation has been fully vaccinated. Japan’s vaccine rollout was delayed and is moving at the slowest pace among industrialized countries.
Critics claim that the government has failed to adequately prepare hospitals for COVID-19 patients.
Japan has seen more than 15,000 deaths from COVID-19, and there are growing concerns about the system’s inability to provide quality health care. Japanese media reports show people waiting in ambulances for hours to find a hospital that will take them.
According to the Health Ministry, the number of people who are seriously ill has reached an all-time high of 1,603 in the country.
Interviews and surveys show that public discontent has simmered after the government allowed the Olympics and Paralympics to take place. These events require thousands upon thousands of medical personnel. A massive virus test is offered to all athletes at no cost.