With new daily coronavirus cases trending downward across much of the archipelago, northernmost Hokkaido and southernmost Okinawa are among those bucking the trend. On Wednesday, as it posted a record 203 new infections, Okinawa asked to join the nine prefectures currently under a state of emergency.

The same day, the central government said it will bar the entry of all foreign travelers who have visited Thailand and six other countries recently in a bid to curb the spread.

Yet even as entry is tightened, about 6,600 people, or roughly 29% of the travelers self-quarantining on any given day after entering Japan, have not been responding to requests to confirm their whereabouts, Magdalena Osumi reports.

Okinawa seeks inclusion in coronavirus state of emergency | NIPPON TV NEWS 24 JAPAN
Okinawa seeks inclusion in coronavirus state of emergency | NIPPON TV NEWS 24 JAPAN

The figures released Wednesday reveal how the government is struggling to check on arrivals’ health and adherence to quarantine protocols, which is key to stopping new coronavirus variants from spreading in Japan.

And here’s another stat of concern: Less than 30% of Japan’s medical workers have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in major cities with just 65 days to go before the start of the Tokyo Olympics, the Nikkei reports.

Yesterday’s (and last Wednesday’s) new COVID-19 cases nationwide: 5,768 (7,521). By prefecture (100 or over; bold indicates rise over last week): Tokyo 766 (969), Aichi 666 (679), Hokkaido 604 (529), Fukuoka 500 (635), Osaka 477 (851), Kanagawa 269 (319), Hyogo 242 (384), Okinawa 203 (109), Saitama 192 (259), Hiroshima 171 (218), Kyoto 134 (148), Okayama 134 (186), Chiba 132 (181), Gifu 132 (134), Kumamoto 100 (111). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker