The government will decide Friday to put Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa prefectures under the coronavirus quasi-emergency stage following a resurgence in those areas, sources say. The stage, which allows special measures to be taken under a recently revised law, is expected to run from Monday until May 11 in Tokyo and until May 5 in Kyoto and Okinawa.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike submitted a request Thursday asking the central government to give her the power to act under the new law, Ryusei Takahashi reports. Tokyo officials warned that if the spread of variants isn’t detected early and the surge isn’t contained, it could dwarf the previous three waves.
Osaka Prefecture registered 905 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, a record high for a third day. Tokyo posted 545 new cases, exceeding 500 for a second straight day, while Hyogo Prefecture logged 311 new infections.
Meanwhile, the government said it is not planning to prioritize COVID-19 vaccines for Olympic athletes, dismissing a media report that sparked a social media outcry, as Japan’s inoculations are trailing other major economies.
Only a million people have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine since February, out of Japan’s population of 126 million, and the more vulnerable elderly do not even start getting their shots until next week.
Thursday’s (and last Thursday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (50 or over): Osaka 905 (616), Tokyo 545 (475), Hyogo 311 (199), Kanagawa 175 (133), Saitama 154 (132), Aichi 144 (83), Okinawa 140 (93), Chiba 94 (101), Nara 88 (46), Miyagi 87 (133), Kyoto 83 (56), Hokkaido 79 (57), Fukushima 60 (34). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker