The Japanese government announced on Thursday that it will extend the COVID-19 state of emergency in Tokyo and 18 other areas until the end of September as the health care system of the country continues to grapple with new infections.
The current virus emergency which covers 21 of Japan’s prefectures was scheduled to end on Sunday.
However, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced on Thursday that the government decided the restrictions to remain in place in 19 of the country’s prefectures because even if the COVID-19 cases were down nationwide, hospitals are still being overwhelmed to treat many patients with severe symptoms.
“We have to prepare for new waves of infection but at the same time go forward with social and economic activities while living with the coronavirus,” Suga said in a press briefing.
“We need to stabilize medical systems and make sure that infections are steadily decreasing,” Economy and Fiscal Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, the one who oversees COVID-19 measures, said in a statement.
Suga also said that residents who want to receive vaccination will be scheduled to have their shots in October or November.
“And from then, we will be able to ease restrictions by using proof of vaccination or testing results,” he added.
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