japan to declare quasi emergency in covid 19 hit okinawa report - Japan to declare quasi-emergency in Covid-19-hit Okinawa: Report

TOKYO (REUTERS) – The Japanese government is preparing to declare a quasi-state of emergency in the southern island prefecture of Okinawa due to a spike in the number of Coronavirus cases, perhaps as early as this week, the Mainichi daily said on Wednesday (Jan 5).

It would be the first such declaration since Sept 30, when Japan lifted all states of emergency and quasi-emergency that had been in effect for a good part of 2021.

The number of new daily coronavirus cases in Japan rose past 1,000 on Tuesday for the first time in three months, with 225 cases in Okinawa making it one of the worst-hit part of the nation.

The Mainichi said Okinawa governor Denny Tamaki told Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno on Tuesday that he was considering requesting a quasi-emergency state, which would include measures such as limiting the opening hours of restaurants and bars.

Mr Matsuno had said the government would respond promptly, the newspaper reported. No further details were given.

Okinawa has entered the “sixth wave” of the coronavirus, Mr Tamaki told reporters on Tuesday, noting the highly transmissible Omicron variant’s role in the spread of infections.

The 225 virus cases on Tuesday were Okinawa’s highest in more than three months, Mr Tamaki said, adding that infections inside US military bases in the prefecture continued to increase.