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Gov't to expand state of emergency to cover Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo

Japan plans this week to expand a state of emergency declared over the coronavirus pandemic to Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures, government and ruling party sources said Monday.
The governors of the three western prefectures had asked the central government to extend the state of emergency, which took effect Friday for the Tokyo region, to their areas in response to a resurgence of the virus.
The expansion will be decided possibly on Wednesday, the sources said.
Meanwhile, Aichi and Gifu prefectures in central Japan will also make a similar request together, their governors said.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Sunday on a television program that Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo "are in a tense situation" and that the government is "ready to respond immediately if necessary."
By declaring a state of emergency based on a law to address the spread of the virus, the central government enables local authorities to urge people to stay at home as much as possible and to call on eateries to shorten opening hours.
In April, Japan declared a state of emergency for some of the country's 47 prefectures and later extended it nationwide. The government fully lifted it in late May.
The resurgence of infections has been increasing the strain on the country's medical system.
Suga last week declared the one-month state of emergency covering Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama in response to a request from their governors.
On Monday, the Tokyo metropolitan government reported an additional 1,219 coronavirus cases, continuing to mark a four-digit increase since Jan 5.
The latest figure brought the cumulative total in the capital to 76,163, while the number of patients currently hospitalized with severe conditions rose to a record 131.


© KYODO
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