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Japan declares state of emergency till August 31 to prevent spread of COVID-19

04:14 PM Jul 31, 2021 | ANI

Japan on Saturday declared a state of emergency to Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Osaka, and Okinawa Prefectures and applied priority measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to Hokkaido, Ishikawa, Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukuoka Prefectures till August 31.

"Government of Japan applies the declaration of a state of emergency to Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Osaka, and Okinawa Prefectures and applies priority measures to prevent the spread of #COVID19 to Hokkaido, Ishikawa, Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukuoka Prefectures till August 31st," tweeted PM's Office of Japan.

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This comes as cases surge throughout the country. The Tokyo metropolitan government confirmed 3,865 new cases on July 29; the nationwide figure was 10,699. Both numbers are the highest since the start of the pandemic. And even though about three weeks have passed since the declaration, there is no sign that the wave of infections is slowing, reported NHK World.

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"For the period until August 31, we have decided to apply the declaration of a state of emergency to Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Osaka, and Okinawa Prefectures, and to apply priority measures to prevent the spread of disease to Hokkaido, Ishikawa, Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukuoka Prefectures," said Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga.

Tokyo and Okinawa's states of emergency were originally set to expire on August 22. The measures, which already covered the Olympics and mid-August Obon holiday, now extend to part of the Paralympics, which will start on August 24 and end on September 5, reported NHK World.

Moreover, the Government of Japan decided to focus on administering vaccines to people in the younger generation.

"From now, we will focus on administering vaccines to people in the younger generation, with the aim of having more than 40 per cent of the public finish receiving their second dose by roughly the last week of August with mild cases over 50 years old and others a revolutionary pharmaceutical treatment that slashes the risk of developing severe symptoms by 70 per cent," tweeted PM's Office of Japan.

Japan also urged its citizens to refrain from going out or travelling for non-essential, non-urgent reasons.

"We ask people to refrain from going out or travelling for non-essential, non-urgent reasons, and to be as careful and restrained as possible regarding returning to their hometowns during the summer and other travel," PM's Office of Japan tweeted.

"We will continue to do everything in our capacity to implement measures to prevent infections and administer vaccines," added the tweet.

Companies were urged to implement remote working policies, with the goal of reducing the number of commuters by 70 per cent. In-office employees should finish their work by 8 pm and go home directly, reported NHK World.

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