Tougher measures against the coronavirus entered into effect Sunday in six prefectures as infections continue to surge. Hokkaido, Okayama and Hiroshima joined six prefectures already under a state of emergency, while a quasi-emergency covering seven prefectures was expanded to Gunma, Ishikawa and Kumamoto.

Workers in the affected areas reacted with a mixture of resignation and hope that the measures will speed up a return to normality, Kyodo reports, although not all were convinced of the wisdom of the clampdown. “Putting quasi-emergency measures in place after infections have surged makes no sense,” said a taxi driver in Maebashi, Gunma.

COVID-19: Japan widens state of emergency to 3 more prefectures | CNA
COVID-19: Japan widens state of emergency to three more prefectures | CNA

Although Tokyo remains under the emergency, which runs until May 31, some theaters and theme parks — but notably, not museums — got the go-ahead to open cautiously last week while taking thorough steps to prevent infections.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, meanwhile, has been urging the youth to stop drinking in the streets, even appearing on YouTube in animated form to ram home the point, notes Kaori Shoji. But as netizens have pointed out, perhaps Koike’s targeting the wrong demographic.

Yesterday’s (and last Sunday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (100 or over): Osaka 620 (847), Tokyo 542 (1,032), Aichi 522 (473), Fukuoka 505 (529), Hokkaido 491 (506), Kanagawa 296 (338), Hyogo 267 (366), Saitama 216 (279), Hiroshima 209 (195), Okayama 171 (151), Kyoto 140 (159), Chiba 135 (152), Gifu 117 (104). Source: NHK