• Kyodo, staff report

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The Hokkaido government on Tuesday officially raised its alert level in Sapporo, asking the city's residents to avoid nonessential outings and refrain from visiting other areas in the prefecture amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The move came a day after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the central government would financially support shops and restaurants that are asked to shorten their business hours in order to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

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