• Kyodo, Jiji

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Japan on Thursday extended a COVID-19 quasi-state of emergency covering Tokyo and 12 prefectures by three weeks until March 6 as the nation scrambles to rein in infections caused by the highly contagious omicron variant.

The government also decided to add Kochi Prefecture, effective Saturday, to the quasi-emergency list, meaning that the measure will be in effect in 36 of the nation's 47 prefectures amid growing concern over the additional strain on the health care system.

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