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Japan’s Osaka to see daily record of about 6,000 COVID-19 cases

18 January 2022 12:23

OSAKA. KAZINFORM - Japan's western prefecture of Osaka is expected to report around 6,000 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, far outstripping its all-time daily high of 3,760 over the weekend, an official with knowledge of the matter said, Kyodo reports.

In recent weeks, various parts of Japan have been reeling from record coronavirus infections due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Due to the surge in new cases, Tokyo and other areas are asking the central government to place them under a quasi-state of emergency by which governors can request that dining establishments shorten their business hours and stop serving alcohol, and asking residents to refrain from traveling across prefectural borders.

«A number of prefectures have requested the measure, and we would like to decide on them speedily,» said Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as he attended a meeting of the government and the ruling coalition led by his Liberal Democratic Party.

Japan's top COVID-19 adviser Shigeru Omi met with Kishida over the virus situation and the necessary response.

«The Omicron variant is clearly different from existing variants. It is crucial to take effective measures that suit its characteristics,» Omi told reporters after the meeting.

The quasi-emergency measure is expected to be introduced across a wider area amid what health experts describe as the sixth wave of the pandemic.

While Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Gifu and Mie prefectures made their requests on Monday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Tuesday the government has also received requests from Aichi, Nagasaki, Kumamoto and Miyazaki prefectures.

Local officials said Niigata Prefecture is preparing its request to join the group, and Gumma Prefecture is also considering a similar request.

The central government is working on these requests and will make a decision as early as Wednesday, according to sources.

If declared, Japan would see 14 of its 47 prefectures under the antivirus measure when combining Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Okinawa, which have been under the measure since earlier this month.

The possible declaration will likely be effective for around three weeks from Friday, according to one of the sources.