Japan is hoping that a short blast of tough coronavirus measures will halt a recent surge in coronavirus cases, with the prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, poised to announce a targeted state of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka and two other prefectures, just three months before the Tokyo Olympics, APA reports citing Guardian.
Suga has come under pressure to take action after a sharp rise in infections in the capital, and evidence that new variants of the virus are driving serious outbreaks in Osaka and the two neighbouring prefectures of Hyogo and Kyoto.
Japan’s third state of emergency since the start of the pandemic will coincide with Golden Week – several days of consecutive holidays during which there is normally a huge increase in domestic travel.
The measures would go into effect in the four areas – covering about a quarter of Japan’s population and a third of its economy – from Sunday until at least 11 May, media reports said.
While Japanese authorities are unable to impose European-style lockdowns, bars and restaurants will be asked to close, while large-scale events, such as football and baseball matches, will be held behind closed doors.
Department stores and shopping malls will also be asked to close – although shops selling essential items will stay open – as well as theme parks, theatres and museums. Bus and train services will be reduced during public holidays and weekends, the Nikkei business newspaper reported.