In a surprise move, Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of Japan’s COVID-19 response, announced Friday that Hokkaido, Okayama and Hiroshima will, from Sunday, join Tokyo, Osaka and four other prefectures under a state of emergency until May 31.
On Thursday, the government also announced plans to put five more prefectures under quasi-emergency status, allowing them to use stronger measures to control the coronavirus. The five are: Gunma in the east, Ishikawa in central Japan, Okayama and Hiroshima in the west and Kumamoto in the southwest.
Hokkaido logged 712 cases Thursday, nearly eclipsing Osaka’s 761 infections, while Tokyo topped 1,000 cases.
In the Tokyo region, which is under a full-on state of emergency, rail companies are reversing temporary cuts in services after the policy backfired and resulted in packed trains as people returned to work after Golden Week.
As for vaccinations, a survey suggests inoculations of older people should be finished in 86% of Japan’s 1,741 municipalities by the end of July. Bookings for large vaccination centers will be accepted from Monday through a dedicated website and the Line app.
And finally, Ayako Ito, 100, has some advice for those unfortunate enough to find themselves hospitalized with COVID-19. “It’s important to trust doctors and conquer yourself,” says the centenarian survivor.
Yesterday’s (and last Thursday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (100 or over): Tokyo 1,010 (591), Osaka 761 (747), Hokkaido 712 (320), Aichi 624 (290), Fukuoka 502 (259), Hyogo 361 (281), Kanagawa 337 (224), Saitama 289 (179), Hiroshima 212 (116), Chiba 171 (111), Okayama 171 (114), Kyoto 156 (130), Gifu 127 (77), Okinawa 126 (39), Shizuoka 122 (29). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker