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The state of emergency planned for Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures in an attempt to curb surging COVID-19 infections is set to run from Sunday to May 11, a senior official said Thursday.

The central and prefectural governments are considering issuing closure requests for large commercial facilities such as department stores, malls and theme parks. The serving of alcohol at bars and restaurants is also likely to be suspended in the four prefectures.

PM Suga is set to finalize the decision Friday, as a resurgence of infections puts pressure on the medical system with just three months until the Tokyo Olympics.

A diner drinks at a restaurant in Tokyo earlier this month. The serving of alcohol in restaurants and bars is likely to be banned under the latest state of emergency. | AFP-JIJI
A diner drinks at a restaurant in Tokyo earlier this month. The serving of alcohol in restaurants and bars is likely to be banned under the latest state of emergency. | AFP-JIJI

In hardest-hit Osaka Prefecture, people being treated at home are dying before they can be sent to hospitals. As of Tuesday, about 8,500 patients were being treated at home and 2,500 were looking for a medical facility in order to receive treatment.

In neighboring Kobe, an official painted a grim picture: “Every day, we have to choose lives for hospitals. We don’t want to do it, but that’s the situation now.”

Thursday’s (and last Thursday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (100 or over): Osaka 1,167 (1,208), Tokyo 861 (729), Hyogo 547 (493), Kanagawa 318 (242), Aichi 294 (218), Fukuoka 268 (109), Saitama 233 (188), Hokkaido 153 (101), Kyoto 148 (107), Chiba 141 (144), Nara 125 (86), Okinawa 120 (134). Source: NHK

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