In an attempt to contain the coronavirus and a variant that is rapidly spreading, Osaka officials began street patrols Monday to enforce safety and social distancing protocols at restaurants and bars.

But with Osaka and neighboring Hyogo Prefecture seeing a large rise in cases involving the far more infectious U.K. strain of the virus, the effectiveness of the measures being taken in both prefectures to prevent its spread is uncertain.

On Monday night, under the one-month quasi-emergency measures, some 40 prefectural and city officials began patrols of nearly 40,000 establishments in the north, central and southern parts of Osaka city, where there are large concentrations of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and karaoke establishments. In neighboring Hyogo Prefecture, similar patrols began in four cities including Kobe.