On Wednesday, the Government of Japan expanded quasi-emergency measures to 13 more prefectures, including Tokyo, to curb the rapid spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant-fueled coronavirus.
Initially, the regulations imposed in the three regions of Okinawa, Yamaguchi, and Hiroshima came into effect on Friday until February 13. The governor is allowed to shorten business hours and limit the provision of alcohol in the prefecture.
“We are fighting an unknown virus, and we hope we can overcome this situation without sufficient preparation and undue fear,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a parley.
The country’s daily infections exceeded 30,000 for the first time on Tuesday, and government officials have attributed an increase in the country’s Omicron infections.
The 13 additional areas Includes Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa, Aichi, Gifu, Mie, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Kanagawa, Niigata and Gunma.
Before the announcement, Fumio Kishida Said Experts believe that this move is necessary to ensure that the medical system is “well-organized” in order to accommodate the increasing number of patients with mild symptoms recovering at home. rice field.
“We will continue to work closely with each prefecture to ensure that the established system functions properly and that the beds are not overwhelmed in the infected area, without neglecting high levels of caution. It has spread to, “he said.
Tokyo’s occupancy of beds for COVID-19 patients, which is closely monitored by authorities, rose to 25.9 percent on Wednesday. Raising it to 50 percent would require a complete emergency escalation, officials said.
Japan declared a state of emergency four times during the pandemic, and although the booster effect program reached only 1.2%, it vaccinated about 80% of its 126 million population.
The Government of Japan has also extended the immigration ban for foreign visitors until the end of February, allowing only locals and foreign residents to re-enter Japan with a daily arrival limit of 3,500.
Meanwhile, a World Health Organization (WHO) expert committee has called on countries to ease travel bans, abolish forced immunization for entry, and consider “risk-based approaches” such as inspection and quarantine requirements. I suggested to do it.
A total travel ban “is not effective in curbing international spread (as clearly demonstrated by Omicron’s experience) and can discourage clear and prompt reporting of emerging economies. I have. [variant of concern]WHO said recommendation..
“The international transport ban does not provide added value and continues to contribute to the economic and social stress experienced by States parties, so it lifts or relaxes the international transport ban,” he said.
Reuters contributed to this report.