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Okinawa Prefecture is preparing to ask the central government to put the southern prefecture under a COVID-19 state of emergency, it was learned Monday.

The Okinawa Prefectural Government is expected to decide formally to make the request at a meeting of its pandemic response headquarters on Tuesday, after holding discussions with local business groups and medical experts.

In Okinawa, 16 municipalities including Naha, the prefecture’s capital, are currently under quasi-emergency measures, with restaurants and bars there asked to close by 8 p.m.

The prefecture saw the number of new COVID-19 cases increase rapidly after the Golden Week holidays earlier this month. As of Monday, the occupancy rate for hospital beds in the prefecture stood at 92.9%.

Meanwhile, Gifu Gov. Hajime Furuta told reporters Monday that he made a request to put the central prefecture under the emergency during telephone talks with economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura on Saturday.

While 22 municipalities in Gifu, including the prefectural capital, have implemented quasi-emergency measures, the governor said the prefecture is facing a tough situation, with the rate of new infections rising.

In the eastern prefecture of Ibaraki, Gov. Kazuhiko Oigawa told a news conference that the prefectural government has again requested to be put under the quasi-emergency stage, after a request in April was dismissed.

“We’ll ask the national government to apply (the quasi-emergency measures to Ibaraki) promptly,” Oigawa said.

The Ibaraki Prefectural Government hopes that initially 20 municipalities including the cities of Mito and Furukawa, as well as the town of Ibaraki, will be put under the quasi-emergency measures.

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