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As Japan nears the planned end of its third state of emergency, scientists have a gloomy message: A fourth declaration in Tokyo could be right around the corner.

A team led by Hiroshi Nishiura, a member of the health ministry’s expert panel on the coronavirus, projects that a fourth state of emergency may be unavoidable in August if the current one is lifted June 20, reports Ryusei Takahashi. After all, the season for festivals — of both the traditional and sporting kind — is approaching, with all the mingling that involves.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Thursday that 1,034 applications for workplace vaccinations had been received, covering 5.14 million people. Yet even under the rosiest scenario, many young people won’t be inoculated by August.

COVID-19: Japan aims to vaccinate citizens who want jab by as early as October | CNA
COVID-19: Japan aims to vaccinate citizens who want jab by as early as October | CNA

Older people nationwide, on the other hand, will now be able to book jabs at the state-run mass vaccination centers in Tokyo and Osaka, Kato said. Asked how this squares with government requests to avoid travel between prefectures, he said, “Proper anti-virus measures will be taken.” So watch this space.

Yesterday’s (and last Thursday’s) new COVID-19 cases nationwide: 2,047 (2,848). By prefecture (40 or over; bold indicates rise over last week): Tokyo 439 (508), Kanagawa 189 (215), Hokkaido 182 (300), Aichi 171 (288), Okinawa 166 (244), Osaka 148 (226), Saitama 110 (122), Chiba 102 (99), Hyogo 50 (70), Fukuoka 42 (102), Kyoto 41 (44). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker

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