Japan Mulling Virus Quasi-emergency In and Around Tokyo

The Japanese government has started discussions to impose a quasi-state of emergency on the capital Tokyo and its surrounding districts within the week, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

On Thursday, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said the capital would request such measures if the usage of beds set aside for COVID-19 patients climbed to 20%.

The rate stood at 19.3% as of Sunday.

The highly infectious Omicron variant was driving a resurgence in coronavirus cases in Japan as new cases nationwide have exceeded 25,000 in the past two days, near-record levels.

Under a quasi-emergency, local governors could request that dining establishments shorten their business hours and stop serving alcohol, and residents in these areas would also be asked not to travel across prefectural borders.

Earlier this month, the government declared quasi-emergency measures in three regions that host US military facilities after Omicron outbreaks at the bases spilled into the surrounding communities.

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