With the coronavirus spreading to a degree and in a manner never before seen in Japan, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced Friday that the state of emergency will be expanded to Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba and Osaka prefectures, effective Monday.
The country’s fourth state of emergency — which is currently active in Tokyo and Okinawa prefectures until Aug. 22 — will be extended to Aug. 31. Quasi-emergency measures will take effect Monday in Hokkaido, Ishikawa, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures and last until the end of August.
With the latest measures, the Suga administration, well aware of the public’s virus fatigue, essentially wants to buy time to vaccinate as many people as possible to push new cases downwards. As of Thursday, 27.6% of the population had been fully vaccinated.