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COVID-19 pre-emergency measures for Yamaguchi and Hiroshima prefectures may need to be upgraded to a full-blown state of emergency, the governors of the two western prefectures suggested Saturday.

“We need to have that in mind at all times,” Yamaguchi Gov. Tsugumasa Muraoka told reporters, referring to the possible shift to the state of emergency.

Hiroshima Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki expressed caution about the recent infection situation in the prefecture, saying, “There is a need to think comprehensively.”

The governors made the remarks after participating in an extraordinary online meeting of the governors of five prefectures in the Chugoku region, an area that also includes Okayama, Shimane and Tottori.

In the meeting, the governors confirmed that the five prefectures will work together to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The omicron variant, which is behind the recent resurgence of infections in Japan, has been spreading in a way that “what we’ve learned so far does not apply,” Muraoka said.

Yuzaki suggested that the prefectural government of Hiroshima might make a decision on whether to ask the central government to upgrade the pre-emergency status, which takes effect on Sunday, even before the designation expires at the end of the month.

Also, the five governors agreed to share more information to prevent the further spread of infections.

They also drew up a joint message asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel to areas where the pre-emergency measures are in place and to take basic infection prevention measures thoroughly, such as wearing masks.

Referring to Coming of Age Day ceremonies and other events to be held during the three-day weekend from Saturday, Okayama Gov. Ryuta Ibaragi called on people to be cautious in deciding whether to go out.

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