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Japan considers extending its second state of emergency

The current state of Covid-19 emergency could continue on until March 7

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Emma Steen
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[Update, February 1] The government is now preparing to extend Japan’s second state of emergency as local medical institutions are still overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases. The state of emergency, declared in January, was initially scheduled to end on February 7, but some officials have said it’s still too early to ease restrictions. According to Sankei Shimbun, officials are expected to declare an extension on Tuesday February 2. 

The extension could involve 10 prefectures: Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Aichi, Gifu, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka. Though Tochigi was included in the emergency declaration last month, the prefecture is likely to lift its state of emergency soon due to a decline in new infections. As for the other 10 prefectures, sources at Sankei Shimbun say that the emergency could remain in effect until March 7. 

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[January 27] With the healthcare infrastructure  being pushed to the limit in some prefectures, the Japanese government is considering extending the state of emergency, which currently is supposed to end on February 7. There are 11 prefectures under the declaration of emergency; they are Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagwa, Saitama, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Fukuoka, Aichi, Gifu and Tochigi. 

Residents in these prefectures have been urged to avoid non-essential outings. Bars and restaurants are also asked to close by 8pm. Meanwhile, daily new cases of Covid-19 in Tokyo are still exceeding 1,000.

The government will likely make a decision next week after consulting with health experts on the hospital capacity. According to The Japan Times, minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said that the government will not wait ‘until the last minute’ to announce the decision so as to give people adequate time to prepare. 

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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