Japan to Expand State of Emergency as COVID-19 Surge Shadows Olympics

Friday 1442/12/20 - 2021/07/30
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Tokyo, Jul 30, 2021, SPA -- Japan on Friday was set to impose states of emergency through Aug. 31 in three prefectures near Olympic host Tokyo and the western prefecture of Osaka, as COVID-19 cases spike in the capital and around the country, overshadowing the Summer Games.
Tokyo on Friday announced 3,300 new cases, after a record 3,865 the day before. The surge is beginning to strain the medical system, with 64% of Tokyo's hospital beds available for serious COVID-19 cases already filled as of mid-week, Reuters reported.
Existing states of emergency for Tokyo - its fourth since the pandemic began - and southern Okinawa island should also be extended to Aug. 31, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is spearheading Japan's pandemic response, told a panel of experts, who later approved the proposal.
Nishimura said the rise in cases had not peaked. "The situation is extremely severe," he told parliament.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to formally announce the move later on Friday.
--SPA
15:09 LOCAL TIME 12:09 GMT
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