Dotonburi, Osaka
Photo: Ramon Kagie/UnsplashDotonburi, Osaka

The Kansai region has declared a state of emergency for the New Year holidays

The decision, which affects Osaka and Kyoto, is due to a surge in Covid-19 cases and a shortage of hospital beds

Kaila Imada
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Kaila Imada
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As the number of Covid-19 cases around Japan continues to spike, regions have begun acting independently of the central government in announcing warnings and new precautionary measures. Following the central government’s decision to suspend the Go to Travel campaign over the New Year period, the Kansai region has declared a state of emergency over New Year to curb the spread of the virus. 

As reported by The Japan Times, the announcement was made on Saturday December 19. Osaka prefecture had just declared its own state of emergency a few days prior.

To help prevent a crash in the healthcare system, the Union of Kansai Governments – a group including the prefectural governments of Hyogo, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Shiga, Tokushima, Tottori and Wakayama – has asked Kansai residents to not to return to their hometowns over the holidays and avoid any unnecessary travel. People have also been urged to avoid going out to restaurants and other drinking establishments, especially if they are not feeling well. 

The governments are also advising people to cancel traditional bonenkai year-end parties and other similar events. However, New Year's Eve celebrations, shrine visits and Coming-of-Age Day (January 11) events can be done with caution. Although the state of emergency has been declared, no official start and end dates have been given yet.

Prior to the state of emergency declaration, other Kansai prefectures have already announced similar requests, including Kyoto, which has asked people to stagger shrine visits and avoid restaurants and bars after 9pm.

Keep up with the latest Covid-19 news in Tokyo and Japan here.

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