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The government plans to declare a fresh state of emergency over the novel coronavirus for Tokyo, Osaka and Hyogo prefectures, sources say, after Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura on Tuesday submitted a formal request for an order to cover his patch.

However, there are fears that the latest wave of the virus — fueled by deadlier, more contagious variants — will be impervious to whatever measures a third emergency might entail, Ryusei Takahashi reports.

With Osaka’s hospitals under particular strain, the government will dispatch some 70 nurses from state-affiliated hospitals to the prefecture to help it treat coronavirus patients with severe symptoms.

A woman expresses her gratitude after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination in Itami, Hyogo Prefecture, last week. | KYODO
A woman expresses her gratitude after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination in Itami, Hyogo Prefecture, last week. | KYODO

Meanwhile, even though the vaccination drive beyond medical workers has barely begun, municipalities across Japan are already coming up with an array of incentives to not only prod residents into getting jabs, but also help revitalize struggling local businesses, Tomohiro Osaki reports.

And with doses in such short supply — for now at least — some local governments are making their own rules so that vaccine doesn’t get wasted when people don’t show up for their shots, as happened in some cases last week.

Tuesday’s (and last Tuesday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (50 or over): Osaka 1,153 (1,099), Tokyo 711 (510), Hyogo 427 (391), Saitama 207 (156), Aichi 190 (168), Kanagawa 157 (114), Fukuoka 151 (72), Kyoto 120 (61), Okinawa 115 (125), Chiba 106 (62), Hokkaido 106 (60), Nara 80 (62), Miyagi 54 (72), Wakayama 55 (30). Source: NHK

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