TOKYO (AP) – Japan extended the coronavirus emergency to seven other prefectures on Wednesday, affecting more than half of its population amid rising infections across the country.
Prime Minister Yoshide Suga also said Japan would suspend rapid entry exceptions for business visitors or other people holding a residence permit, with a full ban on foreign visitors during the emergency.
Suga’s announcement came less than a week after he declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and three neighboring provinces. The new announcement, adding seven more prefectures in western and central Japan, went into effect Thursday and was in effect until Feb. 7.
“The extreme situation is continuing. But these measures are indispensable to turn the tide for the better, ”Suga said at a press conference, bowing as he asked the public for understanding.
He said it had put seven provinces in the city under a state of emergency to prevent the infection from spreading to smaller cities where medical systems were more vulnerable.
The government is asking for bars and restaurants in Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Fukuoka, Aichi, Gifu and Tochigi to close by 8:00 p.m. Live in the affected area, avoiding going out unnecessarily.
Suga has been criticized for being slow as the country has doubled the number of coronavirus infections and deaths over the past month to around 300,000 and 4,100 respectively.Both emergency states were announced after local leaders asked him to do so. Only like that
Experts warn that even declaring a state of emergency, which is non-binding and largely through voluntary cooperation, may not be enough to significantly slow the infection.
Unlike the previous seven-week emergencies in Japan, in April and May last year, schools, gyms, theaters and shops will remain open.
Suga has faced strong inadequate non-governmental criticism.Previously, in most outbreaks, he restricted interventions to ask citizens to take basic safety measures such as wearing masks, washing hands and avoiding drinking and eating. The group until mid-December, he finally announced the suspension of government-subsidized domestic tourism campaigns.
Suga eventually followed calls from local leaders, while his support rating was assessed in a survey showing people more dissatisfied with his virus handling. He also came under fire for attending an expensive steak dinner attended by eight in mid-December.
Suga took office in mid-September and pledged to keep infections under control while keeping the economy back on track. He promised to complete the Tokyo Olympic Games, which was postponed from last year until the coming summer.
Despite a growing number of infections today But Japan has fewer infections than many countries of its size.
Japan has had more success with previous infections without blocking. But experts and officials warn people are getting tired and becoming less cooperative.
In a bid to more effectively enforce anti-virus measures, Suga has said he will seek legal revisions in Congress next week to allow authorities to punish business owners who breach a formal petition for the coronavirus measure, while The Suga government also plans to amend infectious disease control laws so that it can punish patients who violate the separation requirement, hospitalization, or cooperation with the government. health
Toshio Nakagawa, president of the Japan Medical Association, said at a news conference on Wednesday that the domestic medical system is collapsing, with daily hospital admissions being compromised due to the burden of coronavirus patients. Increase
“I fear that the fear of explosive infections, like in the United States and Europe, could become a reality,” he said, calling on people to work together and regain a sense of crisis and urgency.
Japan is facing a possible collapse of the medical system as most of its coronavirus treatments are focused on public hospitals in the country where most of the hospitals are privately operated and lack equipment for Suga Infectious Disease. Said that the situation should be reviewed.
The government has provided financial support for hospitals accepting coronavirus cases while struggling to get more beds as infections increase.
Officials in Tokyo facing hospital beds for coronavirus are considering converting three prefectural hospitals into centers for COVID-19 patients.
Japan’s coronavirus relies on widespread masking, exposure tracking and other safety measures, but the number of new cases in the current outbreak has made contact tracking impossible, prompting Tokyo and neighboring prefectures to announce it. Reduce strategies to relieve the burden on local health workers.
Experts have also raised concerns about the coronavirus case spread across the UK. About 30 new variants have been detected since late December. Another variable was also detected in four people arriving from Brazil this week.
Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi